TODAY |

'Hero' who freed whale stuck in net on Gold Coast could face fine

A man in a tin boat could be fined for rescuing a whale calf trapped in nets off Australia's Gold Coast.

He reportedly launched his own rescue effort this morning after becoming frustrated at authorities for not acting quickly enough.

The man used his boat to speed into waters off Burleigh Heads, removing his shirt and donning swimming fins before diving into the water to cut the baby whale free.

It's unknown how long the calf, believed to be a humpback, had been trapped after it was spotted by a drone operator.

While the rescuer is being hailed as "a hero" on social media, he now risks a fine for interfering with shark control nets.

The Queensland government has established a 20-metre exclusion zone around shark control equipment.

Failure to adhere to that distance could attract a $564.21 NZD fine.

Conservationists are calling on the Government to remove shark nets as the whales head north for their annual migration to warmer waters.

"Their removal during the whale migration season would be a good start and could be accompanied by the serious proving of other technologies such as drones. This must happen now," Sea Shepherd campaigner Jonathan Clark said.

The state government's shark control program has been mired in controversy for years.

Aspects of the program were successfully challenged in court last year by the Humane Society, which argued catching and killing sharks did not reduce the risk of an unprovoked attack.

However, a number of shark nets and drumlines were reintroduced along the Queensland coastline in a reported attempt to stem a drop in tourism numbers following a string of attacks, one of which was fatal.

The amended program encourages the release of most sharks but allows state contractors to kill sharks if necessary.