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An Austrian tourist was fined $1,500 after pleading guilty to harassing whales off Maui.

"It seems perfectly clear that he was chasing the whales," U.S. Magistrate Daral Conklin said Monday in issuing the fine for Peter Gottwald. "Were he a U.S. citizen, he would spend several nights in jail."In exchange for the guilty plea, the U.S. attorney's office dropped its request for a jail sentence.

Gottwald said he pleaded guilty in order to return home.

"This is ridiculous - the whole situation," he said. "This is not the aloha spirit."

Gottwald and his girlfriend rented a boat on Maui on Jan. 3 and went to a protected area to get a good look at the whales.