Byron Bay's own mermaid, Hannah Fraser, poses in her mermaid costume for the international media in Chile.
Byron Bay's own mermaid, Hannah Fraser, poses in her mermaid costume for the international media in Chile. The Northern Star

Mermaid's tale of woe

BYRON BAY'S own mermaid girl, Hannah Fraser, has been causing a scene at the International Whaling Convention in Santiago, Chile.

Hannah and her husband, surfer and film-maker Dave Rastovich, are part of an organisation called Surfers For Cetaceans.

Together they have been travelling the coast of South America in the lead-up to the convention, promoting the financial and environmental benefits of whale and dolphin tours.

Hannah is a model who has been fascinated with mermaids since she was three years old. In 2002, she created a mermaid's tail made from a plastic boomerang, coat-hangers, flippers, duct tape and wetsuit material that allowed her live out her fantasy and swim through the water like a mermaid.

Since then she has been filmed and photographed as a mermaid for numerous artistic and commercial projects.

For the past two years, Surfers For Cetaceans has been raising awareness about the slaughter of whales and dolphins and created an online petition called 'Minds in the Water'.

Taiji Dolphin Surfer Protest

More than 11,000 people have joined the petition by uploading an image of themselves holding an image of a whale or dolphin, or holding placards calling for an end to the slaughter.

Hannah and David are planning to present the petition at the IWC this week as a huge mosaic of portraits measuring over 36 metres in length.

"The Visual Petition has been an amazing way to communicate the support of the international ocean community," Hannah said. "Being able to see each individual face of the people who feel so strongly about this issue is a very powerful statement."

Last October, six members of the Surfers For Cetaceans, including Hannah and David, were arrested when they paddled out and filmed the killing of 30 pilot whales in Taiji, Japan. Hannah said despite the horror of the incident they were able to film it and bring it to the attention of millions of people around the world.

"Over 23,000 small dolphins and whales are being killed each year in Japan and this issue is not even acknowledged at the IWC," she said.


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