Ashmore Reef Commonwealth Marine Reserve

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Ashmore Reef Commonwealth Marine Reserve

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    58,300 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    12°13'S 123°07'E
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Ashmore Reef Commonwealth Marine Reserve; 21/10/2002; Australian Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands; 58,300ha; 12°14’00”S 123°07’00” E; Nature Reserve. The reef itself is one of only three emergent oceanic reefs in the northeastern Indian Ocean and the only one in the region with vegetated islands. The site comprises numerous marine habitats, including seagrass meadows, intertidal sand flats, coral reef flats, and lagoons, and it supports a diverse range of species, including a significant sea snake community, a possibly genetically distinct population of Dugong, highly diverse marine invertebrate fauna, and numerous endemic species, particularly of sea snakes and molluscs. It is also a nesting and feeding site of Hawksbill, Loggerhead, and especially Green Turtles, as well as an estimated 50,000 breeding pairs of various species of seabirds. A high abundance and diversity of sea cucumbers, over-exploited near other reefs in the region, can be found, with some 45 species recorded. The site is located some 500 nautical miles west of Darwin. Traditional fishers from Indonesia are permitted partial access for shelter and fresh water, but there are otherwise few visitors because of the site's isolation. Feral introductions pose a threat, though the alien rat population is now thought to have been eradicated; poachers constitute another possible concern. A management plan is in place. Ramsar site no. 1220. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Administrative region: 
External Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands

  • National legal designation: 
    • national nature reserve
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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