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Australia - Oceania :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands Print
Page last updated on November 24, 2020
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  • Introduction :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Background field listing
    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 field listing
    Southeastern Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean, midway between northwestern Australia and Timor island
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    12 14 S, 123 05 E
    Map references field listing
    Southeast Asia
    Area field listing
    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 field listing
    about eight times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    74.1 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 12 nm
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    Climate field listing
    Terrain field listing
    low with sand and coral
    Elevation field listing
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Cartier Island 5 m
    Natural resources field listing
    Land use field listing
    0% (2014 est.)
    Natural hazards field listing
    surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards
    Environment - current issues field listing
    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 field listing
    Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983; Cartier Island Marine Reserve established in 2000
  • People and Society :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Population field listing
    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 field listing
    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 field listing
    territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
    Citizenship field listing
    see Australia
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    none (territory of Australia)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    none (territory of Australia)
    Flag description field listing
    the flag of Australia is used
  • Economy :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Economy - overview field listing
    no economic activity
  • Transportation :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Ports and terminals field listing
    none; offshore anchorage only
  • Military and Security :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of Australia; periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force
  • Transnational Issues :: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Disputes - international field listing

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