To celebrate the opening of The Swire Marine Laboratory on 3 November 1990, The University of Hong Kong and The Marine Biological Association of Hong Kong organized the First International Conference on the Marine Biology of the South China Sea. The numerous islands, atolls and sand banks of the South China Sea have been, and still are, the subject of numerous territorial claims by the countries which fringe it. Accordingly, so too are the resources. Biologists, however, should be more concerned with resource management and sustainable development than with politics and it was therefore hoped that this, the first meeting of marine scientists on the South China Sea, would initiate the dialogue between them.
The conference was attended by 92 scientists and students from 11 countries and territories. Of the more than 100 papers presented, 47 are published here, following peer review, under the categories of Fisheries, Marine Fouling, Conservation, Pollution and Ecology.
As information on the South China Sea is accumulating, so too are the demands made upon its resources. The prevalence of coastal pollution and the need for conservation of natural attributes and resources must be addressed as countries which fringe the South China Sea achieve greater economic development. The publication of these proceedings is the first in what the organizers of the conference hope will be a regularly convened meeting of marine scientists to discuss the problems besetting the South China Sea and to propose management plans on the basis of sound scientific knowledge.