Fallout from bad TV show
Well, I'm glad the government has no pressing business, like war and health care, and can focus on whether an Animal Planet TV show with bad CGI mermaids was real.
Mermaid beliefs go back a long way, with Columbus among other witnesses (although the Admiral of the Ocean Seas was quick to comment that they were not as comely as legend made them, which is accurate to a degree when you're looking at Carribean monk seals). Occasional seemingly sincere reports of something of this type have been laid to misinterpretations of marine mammals. The classic mermaid form makes no zoological sense, and most of those who delve into cryptozoology don't even think about them. (A few cryptozoologists suggest a primate adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, which might not be completely impossible but has no evidence behind it.) A spate of mermaid-like reports from New Guinea, concerning a creature locally called ri, was very properly investigated by cryptozoologists and identified as a population of dugongs. So mermaids will continue to populate the seas of legends, which is where they belong.