Indonesia attempts to count all its islands

Indonesia has started counting its islands. It wants to locate and name 1,700 islands in time for a UN conference on geographical names in August. Indonesia wants the islands and fishing rights surrounding them so its neighbors can't claim them. Indonesia says illegal fishing is costing billions of dollars in lost money each year. A spokeswoman said 60% of islands in Indonesia don't have a name or legal status, so other countries can easily take them.

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago. In 2012, it registered 13,466 islands but there could be 17,508. The UN says an island is, "a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is still exposed at high tide". It is a big job to count the islands. A spokesman said: "We have to visit every one of these islands, and then we note the coordinates, the name, the meaning of the name…and describe the landscape and its geographical history."