Shore Buddies Ocean Hero of the Week: Hannah Fraser
Hello my ocean loving friends!
Stephen Seagull here and I’m back with my Ocean Hero of the Week. We’ve had some FINNominal Ocean Heroes so far, and that streak just keeps going, kind of like my flight path! This week I am beyond excited to introduce you to a real mermaid!! This mermaid loves swimming with her friends and protecting them from things they can’t protect themselves from. Who doesn’t love mermaids?! And of course; Every Mermaid needs a Shore Buddy! :)
- Hello, I’m Stephen Seagull, and I’m from the beach! What’s your name and where are you from?
Hannah Fraser aka Hannah Mermaid - from Byron Bay, Australia, but lives in LA now!
2. How long have you been passionate about Ocean Protection?
I have been actively campaigning for 20 years to END the shark fin & manta gill ray trade, and cetacean slaughter by showing people that these animals are intelligent, interactive, largely harmless, and invaluable to the balance of the eco system that we depend upon for life on this planet.
3. Ocean Protection is a pretty big deal to me and my friends since we live at the ocean. What event happened in your life that made you want to pursue Ocean Protection?
I had a life changing experience swimming with a mother Humpback whale and her calf. We were way out in the ocean, looking down at the endless blue depths. Suddenly the mother began to surface underneath me, getting larger and larger. I realized I could end up in this whale’s blowhole or mouth, but the whales seemed so aware of their own size. It was amazing how conscious the mother was of its effect on me, down to the swishing of its tail. You can feel that intelligence emanating from them; you look them in the eye and there’s this ancient consciousness looking back.
The whales started singing to each other. It was mind-blowing. The mother’s song was so deep and so rumbly, it caused my ribs to vibrate. I felt like it was rearranging my DNA molecules; it was reverberating through every cell in my body. The baby whale was singing in such high-pitched trumpeting notes that it was nearly too loud and too high pitched for my ears to deal with.
When we got back in the boat, I cried; it was a powerful emotional release. I knew at that moment that I would put my life on the line to protect these creatures. I felt so grateful that even after hundreds of thousands of years of humans decimating their species, they’re still so interactive, joyful and curious. That was when I decided to travel to places where cetaceans were being killed and put myself between the fishermen and these amazing animals.
4. What specific cause are you a part of/did you create? Tell us about what it accomplishes.
I created the vocation of 'freelance mermaid’ in 2003, and have been featured worldwide for underwater ocean conservation and performance art, creating spectacular tails, performing for film, music videos, photo campaigns, public speaking, events & environmental actions to bring awareness to preserving ocean life.
I swim with sharks, whales dolphins, seals, turtles, rays and more in the open ocean, capturing breathtaking imagery of human & animal encounters to inspire new protection and conservation laws.
I broke records as the first person to dance with Tiger Sharks on the ocean floor with no scuba or snorkel gear, and was one of the main activists who paddled out to protect dolphins from slaughter in the academy award winning film ’The Cove’. I released a short film made by Shawn Heinrichs called 'Mantas Last Dance' that propelled Manta rays into the public eye and helped pass a law to protect mantas worldwide.
5. I know I’ve been flying around longer than you (we don’t have to give actual numbers of how old I am) but what do you believe is the state of our oceans today versus when you started pursuing ocean protection?
Being a mermaid gives me a first-hand perspective of what is going on in the ocean in different parts of the world. I have swum in the most beautiful pristine locations and also the most polluted waters and rubbish-filled beaches. I have seen sick, beached animals and I’ve seen coral reefs dying. The difference in some areas from when I began visiting them 20 years ago to now is utterly heartbreaking.
6. What tip do you have for everyone to help keep plastics out of the ocean?
I bring my own recycled plastic containers for take-out when I go to restaurants. I don't ever use plastic straws, Carry your own glass or metal straw. Carry a reusable water bottle. Use your own shopping bags. Avoid excessive food packaging. Say no to disposable cutlery. Avoid microbeads.
7. It’s been so great interviewing with you. I have one last question for you. What would you tell someone who is struggling to stand up for a cause they are passionate about?
You never know who you may be inspiring with your actions. Don't get discouraged. You don't have to change the world single handed.. it's a ripple effect, each good action you take, inspires someone else to do the same!
For more information about Mermaid Hannah, visit http://www.hannahfraser.com/mermaid/
Do you know someone who should be featured as a Shore Buddies Ocean Hero? We would love to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org who, why and how we can get in contact.