Officials drop fines against Australian man who broke law to save baby whale stuck in net

Officials drop fines against Australian man who broke law to save baby whale stuck in net
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Officials say an Australian man who faced thousands of dollars in fines will not have to pay for cutting through a shark net to rescue a humpback whale calf that was trapped in the netting.  

According to ABC Gold Coast, the man, who goes by Django, faced fines of up to $26,690 for cutting the shark netting. Shark netting is used to keep sharks from popular beaches in the area and prevent attacks. 

Django had gone viral and was hailed a hero after taking matters into his own hands and diving 9 meters, or nearly 30 feet, to cut through the net when he saw a baby humpback whale was trapped.

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The rescue was captured on video. 

 

A fundraiser had been started to help pay any possible fines the man would face, but that money is now set to be donated toward whale research. 

Though Queensland Fisheries said he would not be charged, Minister Mark Furner is warning the public not to try to free whales from nets.

"It is important that people allow the professionals to do their jobs in circumstances like this," Furner said.

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Though Django did not face fines, he was served with two Fisheries Infringement Notices for entering the exclusion zone around shark control program equipment off Burleigh Heads.

According to The Guardian, the rescuer described the experience and said he took action without thinking about the fine. 

“I saw the whale and I thought, ‘That is pretty cool,' " he told reporters. “Then I saw he was in the net and I thought, ‘That is not cool.’ ”

Before he learned he would not pay fines, the man had said: “Yeah, I’m in trouble. I wasn’t going out there to see whales. It was an expensive day but whatever ... you pay the price sometimes. I didn’t think about what the fine was.”