Skip to main content

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority works closely with international, national, state and local agencies in the conservation and protection of biodiversity.

  • A protected species is a plant or animal that is protected by law and needs special management. Species may be protected at an international, national, state or local level:
  • International level: species that are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered under IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red Data Book.
  • National level: species that are a listed threatened species, a listed migratory species or a listed marine species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • State level: species of marine mammal, bird or reptile that are prescribed as endangered, vulnerable, near threatened or of least concern under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 of Queensland
  • Local level: species mentioned in Section 30 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 2019.

In addition, protected species in the Great Barrier Reef are classified as either threatened, iconic or at risk:

  1. A protected species is classified as 'threatened' if its population has declined within and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef
  2. A protected species is classified as 'iconic' if it is one of Australia’s most well-known plants or animals and requires special management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
  3. A protected species is classified as 'at risk' if it faces pressure from human-related activities within and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.

 

  • The list of protected species for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park includes:
  • Some shells - helmet shells, triton shells, tridacnid clams
  • Some fish - seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons, potato cod, Queensland grouper, barramundi cod, Maori wrasse, and all groupers (Epinephelus) more than 100 cm
  • Some sharks - whale shark, grey nurse shark, great white shark, freshwater and green sawfish
  • Sea snakes
  • Crocodiles
  • Marine turtles
  • Birds
  • Seals
  • Whales and dolphins
  • Dugong

 

List of protected species for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003, you need the permission of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to intentionally take any of these species.

 

Maori Wrasse Snorkel Tourism
  • The following activity matrix gives an indication:
  • The protected species and types of activities for which the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority anticipates receiving applications
  • Whether the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is likely to grant its permission
  • The assessment guidelines are used by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to make decisions on such applications.

Protected species activity matrix

  • L = ‘Likely’ means the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority may grant a permission for the take of the protected species for the particular activity noted after assessment that is in accordance with the Regulations, this policy and the associated guidelines, and appropriate conditions to manage the activity are developed: 
  • Helmet shells  
  • Triton shells  
  • Giant clam   
  • Seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons   
  • Potato cod   
  • Queensland grouper    
  • Cods and groupers (Epinephelus) >100cm   
  • Barramundi cod    
  • Maori wrasse    
  • Freshwater sawfish    
  • Whale shark   
  • Grey nurse shark    
  • Great white shark    
  • Sea snakes    
  • Crocodiles    
  • Flatback turtle    
  • Green turtle   
  • Hawksbill turtle    
  • Leatherback turtle   
  • Loggerhead turtle    
  • Olive ridley turtle    
  • Birds   
  • Seals    
  • Dugong    
  • Whales and dolphins   
  • L = ‘Likely’ means the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority may grant a permission for the take of the protected species for the particular activity noted after assessment that is in accordance with the Regulations, this policy and the associated guidelines, and appropriate conditions to manage the activity are developed: 
  • Helmet shells 
  • Triton shells  
  • Giant clam   
  • Seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons   
  • Sea snakes    

 

  • U = ‘Unlikely’ means GBRMPA is unlikely to grant a permission for the take of the protected species, however exceptional circumstances may be considered:
  • Potato cod   
  • Queensland grouper    
  • Cods and groupers (Epinephelus) >100cm   
  • Barramundi cod    
  • Maori wrasse    
  • Freshwater sawfish    
  • Whale shark   
  • Grey nurse shark    
  • Great white shark    
  • Crocodiles    
  • Flatback turtle    
  • Green turtle   
  • Hawksbill turtle    
  • Leatherback turtle   
  • Loggerhead turtle    
  • Olive ridley turtle    
  • Birds   
  • Seals    
  • Dugong    
  • Whales and dolphins   
  • L = ‘Likely’ means the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority may grant a permission for the take of the protected species for the particular activity noted after assessment that is in accordance with the Regulations, this policy and the associated guidelines, and appropriate conditions to manage the activity are developed: 
  • Helmet shells  
  • Triton shells  
  • Giant clam   
  • Seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons   
  • Potato cod   
  • Queensland grouper    
  • Cods and groupers (Epinephelus) >100cm   
  • Barramundi cod    
  • Maori wrasse    
  • Sea snakes    

 

  • U = ‘Unlikely’ means GBRMPA is unlikely to grant a permission for the take of the protected species, however exceptional circumstances may be considered:
  • Freshwater sawfish    
  • Whale shark   
  • Grey nurse shark    
  • Great white shark    
  • Crocodiles    
  • Flatback turtle    
  • Green turtle   
  • Hawksbill turtle    
  • Leatherback turtle   
  • Loggerhead turtle    
  • Olive ridley turtle    
  • Birds   
  • Seals    
  • Dugong    
  • Whales and dolphins   
  • L = ‘Likely’ means the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority may grant a permission for the take of the protected species for the particular activity noted after assessment that is in accordance with the Regulations, this policy and the associated guidelines, and appropriate conditions to manage the activity are developed: 
  • Helmet shells  
  • Triton shells  
  • Giant clam (dead only for shell display)   

 

  • U = ‘Unlikely’ means GBRMPA is unlikely to grant a permission for the take of the protected species, however exceptional circumstances may be considered:
  • Seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons   
  • Potato cod   
  • Queensland grouper    
  • Cods and groupers (Epinephelus) >100cm   
  • Barramundi cod    
  • Maori wrasse    
  • Freshwater sawfish    
  • Whale shark   
  • Grey nurse shark    
  • Great white shark    
  • Sea snakes    
  • Crocodiles    
  • Flatback turtle    
  • Green turtle   
  • Hawksbill turtle    
  • Leatherback turtle   
  • Loggerhead turtle    
  • Olive ridley turtle    
  • Birds   
  • Seals    
  • Dugong    
  • Whales and dolphins   
  • L = ‘Likely’ means the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority may grant a permission for the take of the protected species for the particular activity noted after assessment that is in accordance with the Regulations, this policy and the associated guidelines, and appropriate conditions to manage the activity are developed: 
  • Helmet shells  
  • Triton shells  
  • Giant clam   
  • Seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons   
  • Potato cod   
  • Queensland grouper    
  • Cods and groupers (Epinephelus) >100cm   
  • Barramundi cod    
  • Maori wrasse    
  • Freshwater sawfish    
  • Whale shark   
  • Grey nurse shark    
  • Great white shark    
  • Sea snakes    
  • Crocodiles    
  • Flatback turtle    
  • Green turtle   
  • Hawksbill turtle    
  • Leatherback turtle   
  • Loggerhead turtle    
  • Olive ridley turtle    
  • Birds   
  • Seals    
  • Dugong    
  • Whales and dolphins   
  • L = ‘Likely’ means the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority may grant a permission for the take of the protected species for the particular activity noted after assessment that is in accordance with the Regulations, this policy and the associated guidelines, and appropriate conditions to manage the activity are developed: 
  • Giant clam   
  • Seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons   
  • Barramundi cod    

 

  • U = ‘Unlikely’ means GBRMPA is unlikely to grant a permission for the take of the protected species, however exceptional circumstances may be considered:
  • Helmet shells  
  • Triton shells  
  • Potato cod   
  • Queensland grouper    
  • Cods and groupers (Epinephelus) >100cm   
  • Maori wrasse    
  • Freshwater sawfish    
  • Whale shark   
  • Grey nurse shark    
  • Great white shark    
  • Sea snakes    
  • Crocodiles    
  • Flatback turtle    
  • Green turtle   
  • Hawksbill turtle    
  • Leatherback turtle   
  • Loggerhead turtle    
  • Olive ridley turtle    
  • Birds   
  • Seals    
  • Dugong    
  • Whales and dolphins   

L = ‘Likely’ means GBRMPA may grant a permission for the take of the protected species for the particular activity noted after assessment that is in accordance with the Regulations, this policy and the associated guidelines, and appropriate conditions to manage the activity are developed.

U = ‘Unlikely’ means GBRMPA is unlikely to grant a permission for the take of the protected species, however exceptional circumstances may be considered.

¹ Permission only required if activity constitutes ‘take’ as defined in the Zoning Plan. 

² Research requires a permission for this activity regardless of whether take occurs

³ Temporary removal or holding, one-off events.

* Does not include fish feeding activities.

** Non-lethal research only, lethal research would require substantial justification.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's approach is outlined in the policy on managing activities that include the direct take of a protected species from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

If you want to take a protected species, conduct an activity that is not covered by the matrix, or find out how to obtain a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority permit, including permit application forms, please contact 1800 990 177 or email assessments@gbrmpa.gov.au.
Created Mon, 2022-08-22 10:24
Updated 22 Aug 2022
Was this page helpful?
Your rating will help us improve the website.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.