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This is another uninhabited island, which forms a part of the two groups of tiny deserted low lying tropical islands. The other island of the two is namely Ashmore Island, which lies 70 km south-east. Cartier Island is located towards the north of Australia and south of Indonesia in the Timor Sea.
The Cartier Island was discovered during the 1800s and in 1909 it was seized by the British. In 1931, an order-in-council gave the possession of Cartier and Ashmore Islands to Australia, which came into operation in 1934.
The Cartier Island is under the territory of Australia and is governed by the Regional Development and Local Government of the Department of Regional Australia. The country is administered as per the laws of the commonwealth of Australia and of the Northern Territory of Australia.
Cartier Island is a deserted and unvegetated sand cay in a platform reef located at 12°31'50.8" S, 123°33'18.8" E. The island is completely unvegetated baring the exception of seagrasses, which grow in marine and completely saline environments. The coastline of Cartier Island extends to 74.1 km and the island experiences a tropical climate.
Under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975, a Marine Reserve was established in Cartier Island in the year 2000. The reserve is spread in 167 sq km area of 7.2 km radius at the center of the island. This reserve takes care of the ecosystems of the island and the surrounding reefs which are under the threat of extinction. Cartier Island has a biologically diverse range of different species of fish, along with variety of bird species, turtles and so on.
Cartier Island Marine Reserve contains over 547 identified species of fish, which is almost 16 percent of available fish species in Australia. These species are illegally traded by Indonesian fisherman for consumption and trade in the Asian market.
There is no tourist as well as economic activity in Cartier Island. It also requires special permit to visit the Cartier Island Marine reserve