SYDNEY (Xinhua) — An Australian man faces a large fine after rescuing a humpback whale calf from shark nets off the coast of Queensland State on Tuesday afternoon.
The man told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that he was freediving from his small dinghy when he saw the young whale in distress.
He approached the whale, which had one of it’s fins entangled, and with the assistance of his knife, managed to untangle it.
“He just had his pectoral fin sort of wrapped up and he was about eight to nine meters deep,” he told the ABC.
It wasn’t until the rescuer returned to shore that he was approached by wildlife officials who he says issued him with a fine.
Despite the financial hit the man says that he just did what he thought was right at the time, although in the future he wouldn’t do it again.
“Yeah, I’m in trouble, it was fair enough. It was an expensive day, but whatever,” he said.
Penalties ranging in the tens of thousands of dollars apply for tampering with council property and getting too close to whales.
Whales regularly become entangled in shark nets off Australia, which are intended as a deterrent for the predators but are highly controversial for their limited effectiveness and impact on other marine life.