We have yet to confirm if mermaids are real, but an “eco-mermaid” is already making waves in real life!
Meet Miami Eco Mermaid Merle Liivand, a Guinness record holder for achieving the farthest swim with a monofin, also called the mermaid fin.
According to Guinness World Records, Merle swam an astonishing 26.22 miles off the coast of Miami Beach in just 11 hours and 54 minutes while wearing a bluish-green mermaid fin. Even better, Merle didn’t do it just for the world record but also to help raise awareness about marine pollution.
Merle, a marine conservationist, also collected trash while swimming to remind the public how plastic affects marine life. She calls the issue of ocean pollution a “plastdemia” or “plastic pandemic.”
“When I see trash, I get angry. At the end of the day, this isn’t just about a record, it’s about helping the community and the world,” Merle said on Guinness.
Fighting for Mother Earth’s lungs
Merle shared that her love of water was inspired by her health problems while growing up. She was born with auto-immune problems and her lungs collapsed. She started swimming to improve her breathing and for respiratory health.
Since then, she realized she wanted to help protect the Earth by swimming. “Today, my intention is to fight for Mother Earth’s lungs,” Merle said.
The professional swimmer also shared that her swim routine wasn’t ordinary. She learned to swim exactly the way fishes do. Merle swam using only her legs and feet, bound in a custom-engineered mermaid-like tail fin called a monofin, instead of her arms to propel her forward.
“Swimming with the monofin without using my arms is similar to how dolphins and marine animals swim. They have a fin and can’t use any arms,” said Merle, in a YouTube video shared by Wold Economic Forum.
Merle’s message is loud about how plastic has affected the lives of marine animals. She said that if we don’t do anything to stop plastic pollution, our lives will be affected too.
“Using a fin sends the world a bigger message. It’s unfair that we have gotten to the point that fish, dolphins, and turtles are surrounded by plastic which ends up in their stomachs, and I feel that we as humans are next,” she said.
Now that’s a “mermaid” with a purpose!