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Reports of mermaids attacking offshore fish farms are on the rise, the govt prohibits any form of harm to the mermaids only add to the operators woe. Despite investing millions of dollars on reinforcing the fences and net, the mermaids can call on the saltwater crocodiles to dismantle them. One time several pods of blue whales pulled some of the enclosures into deeper water and bankrupts many operators in just a single day. Is there a more cost effective legal approach to keep out the mermaids without breaking the bank? The mermaids do not use magic but can call upon other species of marine animals to do their bidding.

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    $\begingroup$ Lobby the government to have the mermaids declared terrorists, remove their legal protections, and then send in goons with spearguns. Cost-effective and legal! $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Jan 14 at 9:44
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    $\begingroup$ This is 1) a politico-legal problem with insufficient information provided; and 2) a story-based question. Re 1) we don't know which government this is (assuming this is modernl-day Earth); we don't know what protections the crocodiles and blue whales have; we don't know what "harm" to the mermaids is legally defined as (so we don't know what countermeasures are legal). Re 2) we don't know the motives, knowledge or exact abilities of the mermaids. It could be as simple as "cut the mermaids in for 10% of the harvest" - insufficient information to determine the feasibility. $\endgroup$ Jan 14 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ You really need to add the motives of the mermaids for any clear answer. If they are after food, the humans can farm a species the mermaids don't eat. If they want to stop pollution, the humans can manage their waste better. If they are defending their territory, the humans could switch to freshwater fisheries. Without a good idea of their motives, no one can predict how mermaids would respond to human actions. $\endgroup$
    – E Tam
    Jan 14 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ Incorporate in Japan, harvest the mermaids too. $\endgroup$
    – g s
    Jan 14 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ This is in the VTC queue and I'm not going to VTC, but.... Technically, you've violated the help center's prohibition about providing your own answer (fences...) and asking for more answers. These kinds of questions are very difficult here as on a case-by-case basis they might be use-of-technology questions or off-topic Too Story-Based questions. Frankly, this one feels like you're asking us to write your story for you. What can be economically built that would stop an antarctic blue whale? If the farms are closer to shore, why not build a thicker wall? Yeah, story-based. Not our job. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 17 at 18:09

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Just yesterday, I have seen on Netflix the documentary "You are what you eat". It turns out that offshore fish farms, despite mitigating the stress of overfishing on the marine ecosystem, have one serious problem: Pollution from waste! It seems that the mermaids in your story suffered from the abundance of waste and its effect on the marine ecosystem. They attack the fish farms just for that, and not because they are gluttonous. In addition, fish farms are not as healthy for the fish as is the open sea. Fishes are very sick, often spreading their diseases to marine animals. Antibiotics leach into the waters as well, and wreak havoc on the ecosystem. The solution: Reducing the size of the fish ponds, to allow the spread of the cultivated area over a larger area, improve ventilation and water flow, and choose areas which are farther away from lush ecosystems such as reefs and estuaries. Growers will have to revert to organic and more eco-aware approaches.

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Give them jobs.

No, seriously.

If you strike a deal with mermaids and provide them with resources, you can keep them busy and away from your fish farms.

Offer them fame, luxury, and fancy foods in exchange for their participation on Seaworld-like shows. They're far better trainers of marine life than humans, and can for sure do many more fancy tricks than anything a regular two-legged trainer could even think of.

They'll sing for audiences, interact with interesting people from all over the world, and have fun.

This will take their mind out of raiding your fish, and also make you some good money on the side.

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As you've framed it, No

If a Mermaid can issue sentient orders to something the size/power of a Whale, then Cost-Effective, Legal prevention is off the table.

However, in the real world - there are a number of precedents set where the Law says one thing, but when your ability to feed your family is threatened, the Black and White of the Law suddenly looks awfully grey.

For example - say a Fish Farmer setup a number of Sonar Arrays around their Fish Farm - set to pulse at an Interval with Active Sonar: From Physics SE

"Well your Honor, An Electric Fence that is designed to keep animals away is not considered a Booby Trap - and so long as the Mermaids don't swim within X Metres, they are under no threat of Harm, it would only hurt them *if they continued to advance towards my Farm, through the increasing intensity of the Sonar pulses. I certainly didn't harm them"

Or workers turning a blind eye - I'm reminded of an instance where Vegan Activists attached themselves to a Slaughtering Machine - although the workers got the machine stopped in time in that instance - what's to say 'Oh no, the manual shut-off switch wasn't working, oops' or 'We didn't see anything unusual and so continued work as usual'

All you need is Plausible Deniability - which would definitely happen.

Not to mention instances where in remote parts of the world (like Logging, Mining) or similar, where Extra-judicial killings have occurred - Yes, not Legal - but it happens.

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Legal Loophole

This reminds me of a very ancient South Park episode. The boys go on a poaching trip with two adults. At some point Stan or Kyle question whether they are commiting a crime. Then the adults explain that it is not a crime to kill an animal, even of an endangered species, as long as it is done in self-defense. So everytime they see any lifeform that is neither human nor sessile they shout "IT'S COMING RIGHT AFTER US" and use machine guns and grenades to dispatch them critters.

Take a page. Pay some [insert representative of some vulnerable population here] to be stationed close to the shrimp or salmon pools. When the mermaids come have the guard jump into the water, and then Bob's your uncle. The mermaids are technically threatening a human, so you can send them and their seafood friends to marine hell with impunity.

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    $\begingroup$ That was a hilarious South Park episode. The bit with the Rocket Launcher still tickles me. $\endgroup$ Jan 17 at 21:20

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