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  Ashmore and Cartier Islands   
  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km


Map references:
Southeast Asia

Geographic coordinates:
12 14 S, 123 05 E

Natural resources:

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 3 m

low with sand and coral

Geography - note:
Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983; Cartier Island Marine Reserve established in 2000

total: 5 sq km
land: 5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Ashmore Reef (West, Middle, and East Islets) and Cartier Island

Southeastern Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean, midway between northwestern Australia and Timor island

74.1 km

Area - comparative:
about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
0 sq km

Environment - current issues:
illegal killing of protected wildlife by traditional Indonesian fisherman, as well as fishing by non-traditional Indonesian vessels, are ongoing problems

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Natural hazards:
surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (all grass and sand) (2005)

  People Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of Australia)

Dependency status:
territory of Australia; administered by the Australian Attorney-General's Department

Legal system:
the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia and the laws of the Northern Territory of Australia, where applicable, apply

Flag description:
the flag of Australia is used

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
conventional short form: Ashmore and Cartier Islands

  Economy Back To Top

Economy - overview:
no economic activity

  Communications Back To Top

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
none; offshore anchorage only

  Military Back To Top

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Australia; periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
as the closest Australian territory to Indonesia, these islands became the target of human traffickers for the landing of illegal immigrants; in 2001, the Australian government removed these islands from the Australian Migration Zone making illegal arrivals ineligible for temporary visas and entry into Australia

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