THE Daily Examiner was inundated by claims of mysterious sightings along the Clarence River yesterday.
A source who preferred not to be named reported a "fleeting glimpse" of "an exotic creature".
Another said: "I thought it was someone going for a swim, but then realised it was some kind of flesh-coloured fish."
Both agreed the unidentified creature had a fishtail which matched the description depicted in the photograph, whose description suggests the creature could be amphibious. They said they saw the creature basking in the sun before, apparently alarmed at having been noticed, slipping away to safety under the surface.
From all reports the creature is very shy. However, people are urged to exercise caution in and around the Clarence River until authorities properly identify the creature.
It has not been determined whether or not it poses any threat to humans.
Grafton's Bill Dougherty spotted the creature while swimming back from Susan Island yesterday.
"I noticed this strange object drifting upstream with the tide," he said.
"It was near the northern bank of the Clarence. At first I thought it was a jet ski that had broken down, but as I got closer, I could see that it was woman - and a beautiful one, in a reclining position, dressed in blue.
"I thought she is relaxing, just floating with the tide - looks like she is reading.
"So I spoke to her from a distance of about 10 yards, but no answer.
"Then a call from Geoff Shepherd on the riverbank alerted me - this is a dummy.
"On closer inspection I discovered she was in the shape - very shapely - figure of a mermaid, swishy tail and all.
"She drifted on upstream. Where is she now? Where did she come from? Who made her? What is her story?"
Well Bill, we have some answers for you.
Grafton Rowing Club has claimed the mermaid, however, as her home is the Clarence, the club said she should belong also to boaters and yachtsmen.
"If she spurs the imagination of the positive thinking profile, she may become the promotional icon to benefit the whole of the Clarence Valley's tourist industry," a club spokesman said.
But one question remains unanswered: the mascot's name.
The mermaid will be officially named at the rowing club raffle evening at Roches Family Hotel on Friday, November 29.