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A $27,000 fine for saving a whale?

It turns out that helping those in need can be very expensive. Especially if you try to help a whale entangled in a net. A $27,000 fine was threatened for a diver who decided to go to the aid of an entangled humpback whale. Fortunately, the system did not turn out to be heartless and
Published: May 29, 2020 - 12:35
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:55
A $27,000 fine for saving a whale?

It turns out that helping those in need can be very expensive. Especially if you try to help a whale entangled in a net. A $27,000 fine was threatened for a diver who decided to go to the aid of an entangled humpback whale. Fortunately, the system did not turn out to be heartless and after a few days this absurd and absurdly high fine was dropped.

The whole situation took place in Australia, off the coast of Queensland, in a place known as Burleigh heads. A local diver noticed that a young humpback whale got entangled in a shark net and decided to rush to its aid. After several attempts, he finally managed to free it and the animal swam off in its own direction. However, this was not the end of the story.

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“I saw a humpback whale located at a depth of about 8-10 metres that had its pectoral fin entangled in a net. A moment later the adrenaline did its job and I rushed to help him. I tried to disentangle him. I had a knife, but I did not need to use it. After a few attempts I managed and the animal was returned to freedom,” the man said

As it turned out, his heroic act brought him serious problems. And while a crowd of onlookers waited for the diver on shore to congratulate him on what he had just done, there were also people who had a slightly different opinion of the whole incident

rescue-mission-underway-to-save-whale-calf-stuck-in-nets

“It was extremely risky behaviour. These nets are extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, we have already had cases of drowning where people have become entangled in the gear themselves. The man has not yet been fined, it will be up to the department to decide whether he will face the consequences. It is important that people allow professionals to do this type of work.” – Mark Furner, Fisheries Minister said

Given that approaching whales is also punishable, the scuba diver, who only moments ago was a hero, was threatened with a fine of almost $27,000!

The incident has also given rise to another public debate about the use of shark nets in the waters surrounding Queensland’s beaches. More and more environmental groups are calling for their removal.

Fortunately, after several days and enormous social and media pressure, the authorities waived the punishment and it ended with a formal warning. Interestingly, as soon as it became known that the man might be charged such a large sum for his act, a fundraiser was immediately set up to cover the possible fine, which raised $15,000 in just a few hours! It was eventually decided that the amount raised would go to Sea Shepherd Australia.

Source: news.com.au

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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