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Ashmore and Cartier Islands country facts

Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands Australia-Oceania N/A 0 inhabitants 5 sq km 0.00 inhabitants/sq km territory of Australia population evolution



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.



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

Geographic coordinates

12 14 S, 123 05 E

Area (sq km)

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

Area - comparative (sq km)

about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries (km)

0 km

Coastline (km)

74.1 km

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




low with sand and coral

Elevation extremes (m)

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

Natural resources


Land use (%)

arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (all grass and sand) (2011)

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

Geography - note

Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983; Cartier Island Marine Reserve established in 2000

People and Society


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   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)


Country name

conventional long form: Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
conventional short form: Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Dependency status

territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport

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 - overview

no economic activity


Ports and terminals

none; offshore anchorage only


Military - note

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

Transnational Issues

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

Largest cities of Ashmore and Cartier Islands

These are the 50 largest cities of Ashmore and Cartier Islands ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population