Flat Rock research project

Waves washing onto Flat Rock in the Moreton Bay Marine Park in Queensland.

Flat Rock, in Moreton Bay Marine Park, is one of the most popular dive sites in Queensland and is one of the four known areas where grey nurse sharks congregate. Field work at Flat Rock started in March 2018.

Flat Rock in detail

Image of grey nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus) swimming in the gutters at Flat Rock in Moreton Bay Marine Park.
© Carley Kilpatrick.

There are three commercial operators with access to Flat Rock that frequent the site with other operators using the site during peak grey nurse shark aggregation periods. In addition, several other dive operators, plus a few dive clubs and several recreational vessels, visit the site.

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Flat Rock bathymetry (underwater mapping)
© University of Queensland with permission.

Divers have reported fewer than usual numbers of grey nurse sharks in the main shark gutter at Flat Rock during the peak aggregation period. They have suggested that the sharks are being disturbed and moving away from the normal congregation areas. This has not been scientifically confirmed.

Grey nurse shark close-up.
© Carley Kilpatrick.

The same reliable, scientific methodology that was used for the Wolf Rock site was used by the Project Team at Flat Rock.

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A joint research initiative between QPWS and Sea World.

Acoustic tagging is important to assist conservation and management of this critically endangered species.

Acoustic tags provide vital information about movements and residency of Grey Nurse Sharks for up to 10 years.

The project adheres to animal ethics standards and approvals and all care is taken to minimise distress to the sharks and return them swiftly to the ocean.

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