Coral Sea Islands

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Scattered over more than three-quarters of a million square kilometers of ocean, the Coral Sea Islands were declared a territory of Australia in 1969. They are uninhabited except for a small meteorological staff on the Willis Islets. Automated weather stations, beacons, and a lighthouse occupy many other islands and reefs. The Coral Sea Islands Act 1969 was amended in 1997 to extend the boundaries of the Coral Sea Islands Territory around Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs.

Geography

Location

Oceania, islands in the Coral Sea, northeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates

18.00° S, 152.00° E

Area 252/257

total: less than 3 sq km

land: less than 3 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes numerous small islands and reefs scattered over a sea area of about 780,000 sq km (300,000 sq mi) with the Willis Islets the most important

Area - comparative

NA

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

3,095 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical

Terrain

sand and coral reefs and islands (cays)

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed location on Cato Island 6 m

Natural resources

NEGL

Land use

agricultural land: 0%

arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent crops 0%

forest: 0%

other: 100% (mostly grass or scrub cover) (2011 est.)

Natural hazards

occasional tropical cyclones

Environment - current issues

no permanent freshwater resources

Geography - note

important nesting area for birds and turtles

People and Society

Population

no indigenous inhabitants

note: there is a staff of three to four at the meteorological station on Willis Island (July 2007 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Coral Sea Islands Territory

conventional short form: Coral Sea Islands

Legal system

the common law legal system of Australia, where applicable, applies

Citizenship

see Australia

Flag description

the flag of Australia is used

Economy

Economy - overview

no economic activity

Transportation

Ports and terminals

none; offshore anchorage only

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none