About Subantarctic Islands

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Located on the border of Indian and Southern oceans, the French islands of Crozet, Kerguelen, Amsterdam and St. Paul have status of French Overseas  Territories. In this page, discover the general characteristics and history, climate, wildlife by clicking below or in the tabs at the bottom of the page


Subantarctic Islands characteristics


Located at the margins of the Indian and Southern Oceans, the French islands Crozet, Kerguelen, Amsterdam and Saint-Paul are together designated as an Overseas Territory. They are organized into three districts over which sovereignty is exercised by the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises, TAAF).

There is no permanent population in these districts, but each one has a scientific research station. The TAAF administration is responsible for the general management of these bases. Whereas IPEV is in charge of the scientific programmes developed there.

Supply and backup services for the subantarctic stations are assured by the research vessel Marion Dufresne based on Réunion Island. Relief services are run throughout the year, but the Southern summer sees the most intense logistical activity. Other ships also make regular trips to these islands, usually related to fishing operations undertaken in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) centred on the TAAF.

Some data about Islands

Saint-Paul Amsterdam Crozet Kerguelen
Localization 38°43’S
45°95′ / 46°50’S
50°33′ / 52°58’E
48°35′ / 49°54’S
68°43′ / 70°35’E
Distance from the Reunion Island 2.880 km 2.880 km 2.860 km 3.490 km

Total area

7 km² 58 km² 342 km² 7.215 km²
 Organization Islands
Saint-Paul is 85 km south of Amsterdam 2 groups of islands (3 + 2) distant 110km One large island and about 300 islets
Principal Island (area) id. id. Possession Island (150 km²) The Grande Terre (6.675 km²)
Characteristics Volcanic origin the most isolated islands in the world  Craggy islands Large colonies of birds  French Southern largest archipelago(# Corse)
 Highest point Novara crest (268 m) Mount Dives (881 m) Marion Dufresne Peak
East Island  (1,090 m)
Mount Ross (1.850 m)
 Station /  Martin-de-Viviès Alfred Faure Port-aux-Français


Other characteristics