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Presentation of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Taaf)

Member state: France
Area (km2): 439 672
Population: NA
Density (/km2): NA
Capital: NA


The Taaf consist of Crozet islands, Kerguelen, St. Paul and Amsterdam islands (in the subantarctic zone), Adelie Land (Antarctica), and the Scattered islands (Europa, Glorioso, Juan de Nova, Bassas da India and Tromelin in the Indian Ocean).


District Area ZEE
Crozet 352 502 533
Kerguelen 7 215 567 475
Saint-Paul and Amsterdam 66 563 869
Adelie Land 432 000 -
Scattered Islands 39 640 400
Total 439 672 2 274 277


Tropical to polar.


Districts have no permanent population, but there are bases hosting 4 to 100 people (scientists, technical staff, military meteorologists). Scattered islands host military garrisons and meteorologists staying there for 30 to 45 days, as well as scientists. The three sub-Antarctic districts and Adelie Land have a population, depending on the bases, of 20 to 100 people (scientists and technical staff) who stay there for 6 months to 1 year.

Economic activities

Main activity: fishing
The species caught in the EEZ of the Austral Islands are toothfish around Crozet and Kerguelen, and lobster around Saint Paul and Amsterdam. With the help of the National Museum of Natural History, and in accordance with the recommendations of the international community (Convention on the conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, CCAMLR), the Taaf have developed an original management concept. The aim is to ensure the sustainability of resources through specific regulations and quotas (total allowable catch). Protected with the use of weapons, they are strictly controlled by Taaf agents permanently embarked on ships. Other economic activities: stamp collecting, tourism

Political and administrative status

The Taaf are a French overseas collectivity with the administrative and economic autonomy. The Taaf are under the authority of a prefect who is at the same time the representative of the French State and the person responsible for the collectivity.


Development of scientific research on an exceptional latitudinal scale

By recently entrusting the management of Scattered Islands to the administration of TAAF, the state sought to ensure a strong geographic coherence in research governance in these territories.

This integration serves as an opportunity to envisage the development of research on an exceptional latitudinal gradient extending from the 13th south parallel (Glorioso Islands) to the South Pole: this gradient, which covers over 80% of the southern hemisphere, represents a unique situation for France, and in a broader perspective, Europe.

This complementarity has the merit of establishing a biodiversity observatory in all of this gradient, a scientific continuum that would affirm the strong position of European research in the Indian Ocean, and generally, in the southern hemisphere.

However, research on isolated areas represents a significant investment and therefore it makes sense only if the areas observed remain free from major anthropogenic impacts. In exercising its sovereignty over these territories, France protects them from external predation risks, and the Taaf administration, thanks to its conservation strategy, has achieved their sustainable conversion into territories with high scientific value.

The next hope for the international recognition of the continuity of these territories as important places in the observation of ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere, must be accompanied by a strong political will of the French and European institutions, to promote the opening of these biodiversity jewels at the international scientific community.

Contact in Europe

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