Filming and photography guidelines
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is one of the world's natural wonders and has been featured in a range of documentaries, films and photographic works both internationally and around Australia.
Under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003, photography, filming and/or sound recording on or under the water, is allowed without a permit in most areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park if it is done in a way that has, or is likely to have negligible impact on the Marine Park.
However, a permit is required if your activities involve:
- placing any structure or equipment (tripods, props or other devices) on coral or the seafloor
- special effects such as simulated explosions
- introduction of biological and/or artificial props
- the need to 'manage' other Marine Park users during filming (for example, temporarily excluding some users from the filming location)
- manipulation of habitat
- handling of marine life
- cetaceans (i.e. whales and dolphins) (see below)
- highly protected areas (see below) or
- anything that may have an impact on the physical, social, cultural or heritage value of the Marine Park
A permit application form should be submitted at least eight weeks prior to any activities occurring. We also recommend you consult the Queensland Government filming guidelines prior to undertaking any activities.
Please be aware there are also guidelines for being a responsible reef user to ensure marine life is not adversely affected. Failure to do so can result in penalties.
You should note the requirements of Interacting with Cetacean Regulations1 and if in doubt contact the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Highly Protected Areas
Activities in Special Management Areas (an additional layer on top of the underlying zoning) may require a permit, dependent on the area and the timing of filming.
Please note that permits for filming in Preservation Zones and some Scientific Research Zones are unlikely to be approved.
Should you have any questions please contact the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on (07) 4750 0846.
1 See part 4A of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983
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