Planned JCU system outage 23 to 27 May 2024 impacting student and application portals.


When undertaking research at JCU in marine or terrestrial environments, you may be required to obtain a permit from one or more governing bodies. Obtaining the correct permit/s for your research is a legal requirement.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that the international trade in wildlife does not threaten wild populations of plants and animals.

Under national environmental law - the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), permits are required for the:

Scientific institutions (museum, laboratory, forensic research institution etc.) that have been registered for this purpose may exchange certain specimens of CITES-listed species and Australian native specimens without permits, provided it is part of an exchange of non-commercial scientific specimens. Such scientific transfers do not require a formal export or import permit but under this exemption they must carry a label detailing specific information regarding the specimen(s). This exemption for certain scientific specimens is designed to facilitate scientific study, including study into the taxonomy or conservation of species.

James Cook University currently holds a permit for the export of non-commercial loan, donation or exchange of scientific specimens between Australian and registered overseas institutions. If your shipment meets the loan, donation or exchange requirements and are the correct specimen type, then you should be eligible to export your samples under the existing JCU CITES Trade Permit. It is your responsibility however to ensure that the appropriate CITES permits are in place with the Institute receiving the samples.

If you do not meet the requirements, then you will need to apply for an individual specific permit for your sample type. Please see the CITES Website for more information.

Please contact or the Townsville Laboratory and Technical Support Team for information on using the existing JCU CITES Trade Permit.

Additional resources;

You will need a permit to take, use, keep or interfere with cultural or natural resources including flora, fauna, soil and water within:

  • the protected area estate (except nature refuges) and/or
  • a marine parks
  • State forest estates
  • a recreation areas management estate.

You also need to obtain a Research permit or an Educational purposes permit from the Department of Environment and Science for scientific, research or educational activities involving the taking/use/keeping of protected animals on private land, public purposes reserves, and other estates that operate outside of the above listed areas.

Visit the protected area scientific and educational research webpage for more information and details on the application process.

Submit a completed application to Assessment of permits can take up to 40 business days.

Please contact Permit and License Management, under the Department of Environment and Science, if you require further information.

Permit and Licence Management
Ph: 1300 130 372; email:

In Queensland, most marine or fisheries based research requires a permit or authorisation from the managing agencies of that particular location. The permits and authorisations that you require will depend on the type of research you are conducting and the location of the research.

All permits or authorisations must be obtained prior to conducting your research sampling or field work. The application process may take up to 6 months, so it is important that applications are submitted well in advance of your planned field work. Copies of permits or authorisations must be carried in the field at all times and also provided to any research station (such as Orpheus Island Research Station) prior to your arrival.

It is important that JCU researchers and affiliates are aware of the university policies and procedures for conducting field work. You may be required to seek additional approvals for your field work including; ethics approval, risk assessments, travel requests and field trip module approval.

Find out more information on how to apply for a Marine Permit and FAQs.

Marine Park Permit

If you are proposing to take, keep or use marine products from a marine park in Queensland (other than the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park), for scientific research or educational purposes, you may require a Marine Park Permit from the Department of Environment and Science.

There are three state marine parks in Queensland:

  • Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park
  • Great Sandy Marine Park
  • Moreton Bay Marine Park

Visit the Queensland Government website for more information on applying for a Marine Park Permit.

Marine Parks Permit – Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is jointly managed by GBRMPA (also referred to as ‘The Authority’) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS). All activities carried out within the Marine Park boundaries as part of JCU research will require either a permit from the GBRMPA or a letter of authorisation from the University. The type of permit or authorisation that you require is based on the ‘zone’ you are conducting research in and it is important that you are aware of the activities allowed or prohibited in that zone.

For more information, consult the following documents;

You will need to obtain a Scientific Purposes Permit or an Educational Purposes Permit from the Department of Environment and Science for research/educational activities involving the taking/use/keeping of protected animals:

  • on private land, public purposes reserves, and other estate that operates outside of protected areas (except nature refuges)
  • outside of marine parks
  • outside of State forest estate, and
  • outside of recreation areas management estate

Please complete the following permit application form (DOC, 304KB) and email to

This permit application is also available online. You can register through JCU has a customer account that you can connect to (Customer Reference number: 533094)

Please contact Permit and License Management, under the Department of Environment and Science, if you require further information.

Permit and Licence Management
Ph: 1300 130 372; email: