Australia - Oceania :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Introduction :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Background:
    These uninhabited islands came under Australian authority in 1931; formal administration began two years later. Ashmore Reef supports a rich and diverse avian and marine habitat; in 1983, it became a National Nature Reserve. Cartier Island, a former bombing range, became a marine reserve in 2000.
  • Geography :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Location:
    Southeastern Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean, midway between northwestern Australia and Timor island
    Geographic coordinates:
    12 14 S, 123 05 E
    Map references:
    Southeast Asia
    total: 5 sq km
    land: 5 sq km
    water: 0 sq km

    note: includes Ashmore Reef (West, Middle, and East Islets) and Cartier Island

    country comparison to the world: 250
    Area - comparative:
    about eight times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    74.1 km
    Maritime claims:
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 12 nm
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    low with sand and coral
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Cartier Island 5 m
    Natural resources:
    Land use:
    0% (2014 est.)
    Natural hazards:
    surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards
    Environment - current issues:
    illegal killing of protected wildlife by traditional Indonesian fisherman, as well as fishing by non-traditional Indonesian vessels, are ongoing problems; sea level rise, changes in sea temperature, and ocean acidification are concerns; marine debris
    Geography - note:
    Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983; Cartier Island Marine Reserve established in 2000
  • People and Society :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Population:
    no indigenous inhabitants

    note: Indonesian fishermen are allowed access to the lagoon and fresh water at Ashmore Reef's West Island; access to East and Middle Islands is by permit only

  • Government :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
    conventional short form: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
    etymology: named after British Captain Samuel ASHMORE, who first sighted his namesake island in 1811, and after the ship Cartier, from which the second island was discovered in 1800
    Dependency status:
    territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
    see Australia
    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    none (territory of Australia)
    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    none (territory of Australia)
    Flag description:
    the flag of Australia is used
  • Economy :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Economy - overview:
    no economic activity
  • Military and Security :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of Australia; periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force
  • Transportation :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Ports and terminals:
    none; offshore anchorage only
  • Transnational Issues :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Disputes - international:

    Australia has closed parts of the Ashmore and Cartier reserve to Indonesian traditional fishing; Indonesian groups challenge Australia's claim to Ashmore Reef