Mermaids and mermen have just become an endangered species in parts of Victoria, Australia. The YMCA has banned mermaid tails at more than 50 of its pools throughout the state. In a statement, the community organisation said the ban had been made for safety reasons. "Mermaid tails create unnecessary risk to our patrons by restricting swimming ability, especially for weak swimmers and children," the statement read.
"It's possible parents have purchased the product without realising the safety risk."
The water toys have become increasingly popular with children in recent years, despite a number of safety warnings.
But the mermaid tails are used by some adults who are annoyed they have been banned from swimming using the fins.
Daniel Hayward called it to "a bad day to be a Merman" after he was barred from swimming at Brunswick Baths before Christmas while using his mermaid tail.
In a post on the YMCA pool's Facebook page, Mr Hayward said staff at the pool acknowledged he was a strong swimmer but would not let him swim using the tail in case children wanted to follow suit.
"So I get punished and held back from doing something that I truly enjoy, that is great exercise and is causing no harm to anyone because a parent might buy their child a mermaid tail without care or responsibility?" he wrote.
Consumer advocacy group Choice have put out a warning urging parents not to buy the swimsuits.
Choice's head of media Tom Godfrey said children needed to be supervised if they were splashing around with the tails and that very young children or poor swimmers should not wear the suits.
"Even if your child is a strong swimmer, they may get into difficulty underwater when wearing one of these toys," Mr Godfrey said.
The tails affect a child's ability to move their legs while swimming.
Government consumer affairs bodies in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia have also expressed concern about the mermaid tails.