Ocean folklore has always been abundant in coastal communities, with none more prevalent than the mermaid. It is thought that one possible mermaid origin could be the Dugong from China, which as of September 2022 was declared extinct. Some mermaids are portrayed as sirens and tempests of the deep blue, but what if they were tirelessly untangling corals of ghost nets left by deep sea trawlers?
If our oceans are to stand a chance of surviving the next chapter of human life, creating folkloric tales for future generations, we must act as ambassadors for change. British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) are doing exactly that. Every year, BDMLR trains over 1000 volunteer Marine Mammal Medics, and has 20 whale rescue pontoons located at strategic points throughout the UK, waiting to help stranded whales and dolphins. Medics are trained to provide them with the basic knowledge, skills and expertise to enable volunteer teams to respond to a callout and act on behalf of that animal’s best welfare interests.
Mermaids might be considered fictional characters, but the challenges of cleaning up our oceans and protecting what life is left is a profound reality, and an increasingly pressing issue. Let’s hope that those mermaids are out there: we need all the help we can get.