The Gold Coast man, Django who has been hailed a hero by onlookers and social media, is at risk of hefty financial penalty for interfering with shark control nets
Django was just off the Burleigh Heads coast when he saw the whale calf and was in awe before realising it was stuck in a net. He said he took off his shirt, chucked on his flippers and dived in with his knife to free the whale from the net which was cutting into its flesh.
The whale had been in distress for approximately 2 hours before the experienced diver spotted it in his tinny.
The whale was initially spotted at approximately 7am by a drone operator and a crew from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries were notified, only arriving at the scene at 9:45am.
It is understood that crews from Seaworld were nearby in the water however were on standby due to a communication issue with the Department.
By the time officials attended Django had already released the whale from the nets.
Django was then intercepted by staff from Queensland Fisheries as he came to shore. Django said “yeah, I’m in trouble. I wasn’t going out there to see whale. It was an expensive day but whatever… you pay the price sometimes”. Django said “I got him just enough out of the rope so it could just break free… it was really cut up”.
Queensland Fisheries have since confirmed they are investigating Django but have stated no fine has been issued.
Fisheries Minister, Mark Furner made a controversial statement that the rescue was incredibly risky and “is dangerous without equipment. We have unfortunately seen the loss of life when people have themselves become entangled in this equipment… it will be up to the department to consider whether this gentleman will be prosecuted.”
This despicable move by Queensland fisheries has had minimal support and shows the Fisheries primary focus of protecting their equipment rather than the wildlife itself.
Sea Shepherd campaigner Jonathan Clark has released a statement saying the Django’s actions were brave and is calling on the government to remove the nets as the whales head north for annual migration to warmer waters.
Subsequently locals have rallied around him and started a GoFundMe page to cover his costs, with over 200 people already donating over $3,500 as of 20 May 2020.
We say enough is enough, prosecutions should not follow the rescuers brave actions.
What are your thoughts?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne_BoNudtj4 – video link