An Australian man was fined almost AU$5,000 ($4,588) Monday for following two whales so closely that he hit one with his boat.
In a legal first in South Australia, 38-year-old carpenter Phillip Kluske pleaded guilty to one count of using a vessel within 100 meters of a whale.
Victor Harbor Magistrates Court heard that in August 2009 Kluske and his brother were fishing when two Southern Right Whales approached their boat.
Fascinated by the creatures, Kluske pursued them.
The incident ended when Kluske's boat struck the side of one whale, and both animals fled.
On Friday, lawyers for Kluske admitted that their client knew he was too close to the whales, but curiosity compelled him to continue.
Prosecutors asked the court impose a heavy fine, noting the maximum penalty was two years in jail.
Magistrate Brett Dixon said Kluske was a long-time surfer and fisherman with a love for the environment and therefore should have known to behave better.
He fined him $4,000 and ordered he pay more than $800 in court costs.
Kluske declined to comment outside court.
Read more: Sunday Mail (Adelaide)