Man in tinny frees tangled baby whale from shark nets off Gold Coast, cops fine

The hero who took to his tinny on the Gold Coast to free a baby whale tangled in a shark net has reportedly been slapped with a fine by authorities.A whale calf was spotted in distressed by a drone operator about 7am off Burleigh Heads and authorities were called in to help.
But a “suspected communication issue with the Department of Fisheries” delayed the rescue of the trapped mammal, the news website reports.
Frustrated, the good Samaritan, who gave his name as Django to media, jumped into his tinny, raced out to the net and took matters into his own hands.
That decision will now cost the man, with the Gold Coast Bulletin reporting he has been hit with a fine.
Tampering with shark nets is an offence in Queensland that can attract hefty fines. So too is deliberately coming in close proximity to a whale.
“I’m in trouble,” Django, who didn’t give his last name, told 7 News. “It was an expensive day, but whatever. There are laws. They (fisheries officials) do a good job. It is what it is.
“I thought most people would have done it. You just got to pay the price sometimes.”
Sunrise was at the beach as the drama unfolded and reported that the man leapt into the water from his boat and freed the young mammal from the net.
“We saw a small dingy with canopy and a sole occupant about 200m from the headland,” a witness told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“The whale appears to be free now but then a larger boat has turned up.”
The whale’s condition isn’t known. It swam away after being freed.
Despite the man’s claim that he was fined, Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the man wouldn’t be punished for his good deed.
“I encourage people to allow the professionals to do their job and make sure they release any marine life that may be unfortunately caught up in this equipment,” Mr Furner said.
“It is dangerous equipment, we have obviously seen loss of life of people themselves being entangled.”
James Kable, who spotted the whale with his drone, said the mammal was “very distressed, trying to breathe, just on the surface”.
“I got up here for a bit of a sunrise with the surfers and flew out over the nets and saw what looked like a really large mass down there,” Mr Kable told Sunrise.
“Which is very unusual. Obviously the nets are normally quite straight and often very hard to see, and I noticed that there was what looks to be quite a small whale – so it could be a baby, I’m not sure.”
A SeaWorld spokesman told the Bulletin: “At this stage boating and fisheries will be managing the rescue effort. Our team are on standby should they need assistance.”
The Queensland Government has been contacted for comment.