Ashmore and Cartier Islands Facts


Facts & Information For Ashmore and Cartier Islands

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Introduction
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, is now a marine reserve.
Geography
Location:
Southeastern Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean, midway between north-western Australia and Timor island
Geographic coordinates:
12 14 S, 123 05 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 5 sq km
note: includes Ashmore Reef (West, Middle, and East Islets) and Cartier Island
water: 0 sq km
land: 5 sq km
Area - comparative:
about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
74.1 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
contiguous zone: 12 NM
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
tropical
Terrain:
low with sand and coral
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 3 m
Natural resources:
fish
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (all grass and sand) (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards
Environment - current issues:
NA
Geography - note:
Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983
People
Population:
no indigenous inhabitants
note: Indonesian fishermen are allowed access to the lagoon and fresh water at Ashmore Reef's West Island (July 2004 est.)
People - note:
the landing of illegal immigrants from Indonesia's Rote Island has become an ongoing problem
Government
Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
conventional short form: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Dependency status:
territory of Australia; administered by the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services
Legal system:
the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia and the laws of the Northern Territory of Australia, where applicable, apply
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
Economy - overview:
no economic activity

Transportation
Waterways:
none
Ports and harbors:
none; offshore anchorage only
Military
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Australia; periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force
Transnational Issues
Disputes - international:
Indonesian groups challenge Australia's claim to Ashmore Reef; Australia has closed the surrounding waters to Indonesian traditional fishing and has created a national park in the region while continuing to prospect for hydrocarbons in the vicinity
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Facts & Information For Ashmore and Cartier Islands

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Source: The CIA World Factbook 2004