Limited Impact Research

Process, Policy and Procedure for Permit Applications to conduct research on the Great Barrier Reef under JCU accreditation

Critical information:

  • Applications must be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the commencement of work.
  • Research cannot be conducted without authorisation in advance. Without authorisation, researchers and associated personnel may be prosecuted for contravention of the Zoning Plan.
  • Applicants must familiarise themselves with the relevant legislation and University policies and procedures before completing the request for clearance.
  • Extensions or amendments to approved applications cannot be granted retrospectively
  • Researchers must submit annual reports for projects operating over twelve (12) months before November 30th each year and a final report on conclusion of the project.

Contact

The Marine Permit Custodian can be contacted on email via marinepermits@jcu.edu.au

Limited Impact Research

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 (the Zoning Plan) provides for “limited impact” research to be conducted in the Marine Park without the written permission of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), providing certain conditions are satisfied.  The GBRMPA may accredit a research or educational institution to authorise its employees and affiliated staff to conduct research activities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (hereafter referred to as the Marine Park) where that research meets particular criterion.

Generally, throughout the Marine Park, researchers from accredited research institutions will be allowed to conduct:

  • Any research that does not involve an activity that would require permission;
  • Social research that does not involve the conduct of archaeology excavations;
  • Limited impact research (extractive) in the General Use, Habitat Protection, Conservation Park, and Scientific Research Zones; and
  • Limited impact research (non-extractive) in the zones listed above and the Buffer and Marine National Park Zones.

To this end, James Cook University (JCU) and GBRMPA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, providing a framework within which, on accreditation of JCU, its employees and affiliated staff may conduct “limited impact” scientific research in the Marine Park. A Code of Conduct has been developed for activities within Marine Parks, and this set of procedures has been developed to implement the contents of the MoU, and the Code.

Limited impact research can only be carried out in General Use, Habitat Protection, Conservation Park, Scientific Research, Buffer (non-extractive only), and Marine National Park (non-extractive only) zones of the Marine Parks and is further restricted by methods and equipment that may be used and by sampling (take) limits.

Eligibility

James Cook University accreditation for conducting research on the Great Barrier Reef is available to all James Cook University staff and student’s research activities that fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Honours Projects
  • Masters Projects
  • Short term research projects (<6 months)
  • Unexpected project modifications (not enough time to gain amendment to personal GBRMPA permit)
  • Non-extractive Limited impact research

Application Process

Researchers should complete the application proforma and forward any required documentation to the Marine Permit Custodian via marinepermits@jcu.edu.au. Please note that the application form is updated as required to incorporate new changes and alterations.

Applicants are advised that they will need to prepare their request for clearance 6 weeks in advance of the project's planned starting date. On receipt of the application an email will be sent to the applicant containing an application number. Please quote this number in all dealings with the Marine Permit Custodian and Academic Head of department.

  • Provide a basic map for the locations of your research
  • ADD ANY ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS e.g. Field trip form, ethics approvals and fisheries permit for our records.
  • Read and familiarise yourself with the following policies

Policies

Applicants must familiarise themselves with the relevant legislation and University policies and procedures before completing the request for clearance, as listed below:

Reporting

Researchers must submit annual reports for projects operating over twelve (12) months prior to November 30th and a final report on conclusion of the project. All submissions must be made to marinepermits@jcu.edu.au after which reports will be collated into an annual report submitted to GBRMPA.

In addition, all researchers must submit a copy of the report, thesis or any publication(s) arising from the research conducted in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park via marinepermits@jcu.edu.au when available.

Limited Impact Research Assessment

If the application is assessed as 'limited impact' research, the Academic Head of Department of Marine Biology and Aquaculture will issue a Letter of Authorisation.

Please note researchers must at all times carry the Letter of Authorisation while working within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Letter of Authorisation serves as an indication to compliance officers that researchers and/or other personnel are undertaking research under the auspices of an accredited educational or research institution for the purposes of the Zoning Plan.

If a Letter of Authorisation is not able to be produced when required, the researcher or other personnel is liable to be prosecuted for contravention of the Zoning Plan.

Modifications to approved projects

All requests for changes to approved projects must be submitted via email to the Marine Permit Custodian (marinepermits@jcu.edu.au).

Please note that extensions or amendments cannot be granted retrospectively.

Failure to comply

Failure to comply with the GBRMPA regulations or the JCU accreditation conditions of use may result in severe penalties and/or fines from GBRMPA, and refusal of future permit applications via JCU.