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When a permit is required

Certain activities undertaken in the Australian Marine Parks need to be authorised by the Director of National Parks in the form of a permit. These activities include research and monitoring (non‑commercial), installation of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), camping (islands and cays), recreational drone use, and recreational fishing (Recreational Use Zone of Lord Howe Marine Park only (Elizabeth Reef)).

Research and monitoring (non-commercial)

The majority of research and monitoring activities undertaken in Australian Marine Parks require a permit. Research of a commercial nature requires a licence. Research and monitoring is allowable in all zones.


A permit is required for camping and overnight stays on islands and cays above the high water mark in an Australian Marine Park. Overnight stays on vessels do not require a permit. Camping is allowable in all zones, except in Sanctuary Zones.

Non-commercial remote piloted aircraft (drones)

A permit is required if you wish to operate remote piloted aircraft, such as drones, over an Australian Marine Park. This activity is allowable in all zones, except in Sanctuary Zones.

Recreational fishing at Elizabeth Reef (Recreational Use Zone of Lord Howe Marine Park only (Elizabeth Reef))

A permit is required to undertake recreational fishing in the Recreational Use Zone of the Lord Howe Marine Park (around Elizabeth Reef). This is due to a legislative determination, made under the Temperate East Marine Parks Network Management Plan. You can still visit the location without needing a permit.

Fish Aggregating Devices

Fish Aggregating Devices are allowable in all zones, except National Park Zones and Sanctuary Zones.

Applying for a permit

Please allow a minimum of four weeks for your application to be processed. Some projects, particularly where consultation with traditional owners is required, may take longer. You can apply for a permit through Online Services.

Overseas applicants

Overseas researchers, please note that the Migration Act 1958 may require you to obtain an appropriate visa. For further information visit www.immi.gov.au or email entertainment.visas@immi.gov.au.

To undertake marine scientific research under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) Part XIII in Australian waters and Continental Shelf and/or to make a port call/s as a public vessel, you should also see the information on the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Permit fees

There is currently no permit application fee for any activity.

Granting a permit

Permits are only authorised if the activities are assessed and considered as acceptable against the decision making criteria in the management plans (part 4) by the Director of National Parks. Permits are subject to conditions that help to protect and conserve the natural, cultural, heritage and socio-economic values of the marine parks.

Need more information

For more information about what activities are allowed in each zone and marine park, visit:

You can find more information at Parks Australia, email marineparks@environment.gov.au or phone 1800 069 352.


Your personal information may be disclosed to other Australian (and in some circumstances, state and territory) Government departments and agencies where it is required or authorised by or under law or where it is reasonably necessary for law enforcement and for the purposes of assessing your application and aligning conditions with other permits.


The Director of National Parks requires personal information from applicants. The personal information that you provide will be used by the Director to assess your application and manage activities within the park, including compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and EPBC Regulations. If you do not provide the requested information, your application cannot be assessed.

Privacy policy

The collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information by the Director of National Parks is governed by the Privacy Act 1988 and, in particular, by the Australian Privacy Principles. The Director's privacy policy details how you can access and correct your personal information held by the Director and who to contact if you have a concern about your personal information.