The man, known only as Django, is being threatened with thousands of dollars in fines for tampering with a shark net and approaching a whale.
Django’s brave act caught media attention yesterday after he cut the young whale’s pectoral fin free allowing the mammal to swim away.
The diver, from Queensland, who took his tinny into waters off Burleigh Beach to save the whale calf. He said he “didn’t think twice” before jumping into the water to help the whale.
Now a fundraising page has attracted more than $8300 in donations from more than 350 Aussies, who say Django is “a legend in the eyes of the local community”.
A spokesperson for gofundme told news.com.au the fundraiser has been raising money “quickly”.
RELATED: Man in tinny frees tangled baby whale from shark nets off Gold Coast, cops fine
The fundraiser is aiming to cover the cost of the fine, which it reports could be anywhere between $1300 and $55,000.
People donating called Django “courageous”, saying without him the calf “surely would have died”.
He told the Today show he always goes diving with a knife and wasn’t afraid to jump in, after the whale calf was spotted by a drone operator yesterday.
But after the successful rescue caught media attention, Django was approached by fisheries officials who told him they planned to fine him for tampering with a shark net. According to a report from 9 News, Django could be fined up to $27,000.
But hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon were outraged at the idea Django would be slapped with a fine after rescuing the baby whale.
“It would be very un-Australian if he gets fined,” Stefanovic said.
“It wouldn’t be a good PR move,” Langdon agreed.
Asked about the fine, Django said he’d seen the officials while out in the water, and they later visited him at his home in wet suits to discuss the amount. Reports suggested the Department of Fisheries own rescue of the whale calf had been delayed yesterday by a “suspected communication issue” according to MyGC.com.au.
Django remained evasive about how much he’d be fined — but said he and fisheries officials “had a discussion about what the fine is 100 per cent going to be”.
“They were in wet suits. They weren’t going out to fine someone out that day, they were going out to save a whale so they didn’t have any paperwork on them. This is their words.”
He said he wasn’t “stressed” so long as the fine didn’t “continue to grow”.
“It wasn’t a couple of hundred bucks,” he continued.
Django said he didn’t think twice about jumping in the water, “I was going straight in,” he said.
“I’m not scared of it, to be honest. Obviously it was dangerous. I wouldn’t recommend everyone go and do it, it’s highly dangerous.
“But it’s done. I didn’t drown. It was all good. I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing it.”
Django also hosed down suggestions the whale “thanked” him.
“I didn’t get a thank you,” he said. “It just took off.
“I was thanking it for not drowning me.”