French Southern and Antarctic Lands
|Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands
Territoire des Terres australes et antarctiques françaises (TAAF)
|Motto: "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité"|
(Click on map to enlarge)
169,800 sq mi
|ISO 3166 code||TF|
|Flag of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands: see CIA World Factbook|
The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (French: Terres australes et antarctiques françaises, TAAF), in full the Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (French: Territoire des Terres australes et antarctiques françaises) is an overseas territory (French: Territoire d'outre-mer or TOM) of France. It consists of:
- Kerguelen (Archipel des Kerguelen), a group of volcanic islands in the southern Indian Ocean, southeast of Africa, approximately equidistant between Africa, Antarctica and Australia;
- St. Paul and Amsterdam islands (Îles Saint Paul et Amsterdam), a group to the north of Kerguelen;
- Crozet Islands (Îles Crozet), a group in the southern Indian Ocean, south of Madagascar;
- Adélie Land (Terre Adélie), the French claim on the Antarctica continent;
- the Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses), a dispersed group of islands around the coast of Madagascar.
The territory is also called the French Southern Lands (French: Terres australes françaises) or French Southern Territories. The latter excludes Adélie Land, where French sovereignty is not widely recognized. The lands are not connected to France Antarctique, a former French colony in Brazil.
The territory has no permanent civilian population. Those resident consist of visiting military personnel, officials, scientific researchers and support staff.
The French Southern and Antarctic Lands have formed a territoire d'outre-mer (an overseas territory) of France since 1955. Formerly, they were administered from Paris by an administrateur supérieur assisted by a secretary-general; since December 2004, however, their administrator has been a préfet, currently Pascal Bolot, with headquarters in Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island.
The territory is divided into five districts:
|Saint Paul / Île Amsterdam||Martin-de-Viviès||25||45||61||502,533|
|Archipel Crozet||Alfred Faure||25||45||352||567,475|
|Archipel des Kerguelen||Port-aux-Français||70||110||7,215||563,869|
|Terre Adélie||Dumont d'Urville Station||30||110||432,000||-|
a According to new law 2007-224 of February 21, 2007, the Scattered Islands constitute the TAAF's fifth district. The TAAF website does not mention their population. The data are not included in the totals.
b The Îles Éparses principal station is on Tromelin. The headquarters of the district chief lies beyond the TAAF, in Saint Pierre on Réunion Island.
c The Territory's principal station is Martin-de-Viviès on Île Amsterdam. The capital and headquarters of the Territorial administrator lies beyond the TAAF, in Saint Pierre on Réunion Island.
Each district is headed by a district chief, who has powers similar to those of a French mayor (including recording births and deaths and being an officer of judicial police).
Because there is no permanent population, there is no elected assembly, nor does the territory send representatives to the national parliament.
The territory includes Île Amsterdam, Île Saint-Paul, Îles Crozet and Îles Kerguelen in the southern Indian Ocean near 43°S, 67°E, along with Adélie Land, the sector of Antarctica claimed by France, named by the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville after his wife.
Adélie Land (about 432,000 km²) and the islands, totalling 7781 km², have no indigenous inhabitants, though in 1997 there were about 100 researchers whose numbers varied from winter (July) to summer (January).
Île Amsterdam and Île Saint-Paul are extinct volcanoes and have been delineated as the Amsterdam and Saint-Paul Islands temperate grasslands ecoregion. The highest point in the territory is Mont Ross on Îles Kerguelen at 1850 meters. There are no airstrips on the islands and the 1232 kilometres of coastline have no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorages.
However, the territory has a merchant marine fleet totalling (in 1999) 2,892,911 GRT /5,165,713 metric tons deadweight (DWT), including seven bulk carriers, five cargo ships, ten chemical tankers, nine container ships, six liquefied gas carriers, 24 petroleum tankers, one refrigerated cargo ship, and ten roll-on/roll-off (RORO) carriers. This fleet is maintained as a subset of the French register that allows French-owned ships to operate under more liberal taxation and manning regulations than permissible under the main French register. This register, however, is to vanish, replaced by the International French Register (Registre International Français, RIF).
The territory contains the only land mass that is antipodal to the Contiguous United States. The far northern tip of Îles Kerguelen, near Baie de l'Oiseau ( ), is directly opposite the globe to the small area north of US Highway 2 between Chester, Montana and Rudyard, Montana, and south of the United States-Canada border. Île Amsterdam and Île Saint-Paul lie antipodal to two small areas in south-eastern Colorado, near the cities of Lamar and Cheyenne Wells, respectively.
The main fish resources are Patagonian toothfish and spiny lobster. Both are poached by foreign fleets; because of this, the French Navy and occasionally other services patrol the zone and arrest poaching vessels. Such arrests can result in heavy fines and/or the seizure of the ship.
France used to sell licences to fish the Patagonian toothfish to foreign fisheries; because of overfishing, it is now restricted to a small number of fisheries from Réunion Island.
The territory takes in revenues of about €16 million a year.
- Outline of France
- French overseas departments and territories
- Administrative divisions of France
- Islands controlled by France in the Indian and Pacific oceans
- French colonial empire
- List of French possessions and colonies
- French Southern and Antarctic Lands - Official French website (in English)
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- Official website
- French Southern and Antarctic Lands entry at The World Factbook
- French Southern Territories on the Open Directory Project
- Wikimedia Atlas of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands
- French Southern and Antarctic Lands travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Southern & Antarctic Territories
- Crozet Archipelago
- Kerguelen Archipelago
- Terre Adélie