Today show host Karl Stefanovic has said fining the man, only known as Django, who freed the whale from shark nets after jumping into water from his tinny, would be “very un-Australian”.
Django’s brave act caught media attention yesterday after he cut the young whale’s pectoral fin free from the net allowing the mammal to swim away.
The diver, from Queensland, took his tinny out into waters off Burleigh Beach to save the whale calf said he “didn’t think twice” about helping the whale.
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 Stefanovic and co-host Alison Langdon were outraged.
“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 had 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 had 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.”