Elizabeth Reef Recreational Use Zone re-opened


THE Elizabeth Reef Recreational Use Zone has recently been re-opened to marine park users following a temporary closure of area due to safety concerns from an unexploded ordnance (UXO) that was reported in April.

A removal operation was successfully conducted by the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Adelaide in September.

The RAN UXO clearance team also conducted a thorough search of the reef and found no further evidence of UXO on the reef. It is possible, however, for UXO to remain unseen, submerged under sand or corals on the reef which may become exposed at a later date due to weather action. While Parks Australia considers it safe to reopen the Recreational Use Zone to visitors, visitors are cautioned that other UXO may be found on the reef in the future, as it may have once used on an ad hoc basis for RAAF maritime bombing practice post WWII. People visiting the reef do so at their own risk.

Recreational fishing permits required
The rules for visitors to Elizabeth Reef are the same as before the closure, i.e. no permits are required to access and swim at the reef, however, permits are required if you want to undertake recreational fishing. Applications for recreational fishing permits must be submitted through the Parks Australia website at least 3 weeks before your planned fishing trip.

Additionally, a post-trip report must be submitted within 10 days of the trip.

Detailed rules for all users of the reefs are available on the Australian Marine Parks website or can be obtained by contacting either Parks Australia ( or the Lord Howe Island Marine Park office (

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