a whale and its calf have been rescued from shark nets off the Gold Coast

A rescue mission to free a whale and its calf has been successful, after the pair became entangled in shark nets in waters off Principal Seaside on Friday.

The rescue took about an hour, with crews from Sea World and the Division of Fisheries ensuring the two mammals were freed and unharmed.

It’s believed the older whale did, on occasion, attempt to hold the younger to the surface, according to reports.

Despite rough conditions and inclement weather hampering the rescue, the pair were freed and started their journey away from the coast.

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The incident comes about month after a younger humpback whale was caught in netting off Burleigh Heads.

The man, known only as Django, was hailed a hero after he took his tinny into waters off Burleigh Beach to save the whale calf, cutting the animal’s pectoral fin free allowing the mammal to swim away.

But when his brave act caught media attention, Django was approached by fisheries officials who told him they planned to fine him for tampering with a shark net.

Instead, he was let off with a formal warning – but not before reigniting a fierce debate about how best to tackle the risks posed by ocean-dwelling man-eaters.

On one side, environmentalists argue the nets do more harm than good, the animals’ “dangerous” tendencies are overhyped and culling the animals is cruel and unnecessary, while their opponents want more done to protect swimmers and surfers.

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