Non-indigenous species in marine and coastal habitats of the South China Sea.
The South China Sea (SCS) sustains and is a regional center of high marine and coastal biodiversity. It is also one of the most important mariculture and marine fisheries regions in the world. Many non-indigenous species (NIS) were introduced into the SCS as artifacts of increasing mariculture production and fishery harvests. Little information exists about NIS in the SCS. In this study, research examining NIS and their threats in the SCS are reviewed. Current NIS conditions assessed include their status, threat to native biodiversity, contribution to mariculture and fisheries harvest, management, and the need for future research in specific areas are identified. A total of 90 NIS including 17 algae, 6 vascular plants, 3 bryozoans, 23 molluscs, 6 crustacea, 3 ascidians, and 32 fishes were introduced into the SCS from 1600 to the present. The primary pathways of introduction are through aquaculture, followed by shipping, ecological restoration, and biocontrol. The main introduced country is China. Some NIS have caused negative impacts on the environment and economy. Some NIS are potential threats to humans as well as biodiversity in the SCS. More research focused upon monitoring and managing NIS in the SCS is needed.