The Red Sea is one of the most fascinating marine locations on planet Earth. lt has played a centraI role in the history of navigation, communications aod trade between the Arabian sub-continent, Asia, Africa and Europe for at least four thousand years. Surrounding countries have ali established strong links with the Red Sea, whether for fishing, navigation aod commerce, or as a source of sea salt. In recent years these traditional uses have been added to by an increase in aquatic leisure activities and tourism and by a proliferation of industriaI projecrs whieh depend on Red Sea-water for cooling purposes or as a source of desalinated fresh water. The central portion of the Red Sea is unique in that the median rift has created rich deposits of heavy metals and these mineral resources are jointly owned by the bordering nations of Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The metalliferous muds which are overlain by hot brines more than two kilometers beneath the sea's surface are one of the very few sea-bed more bodies whose ownership is not in dispute and which have in consequence been thoroughly investigated. The Red Sea means many different things to different people. Although it is highly valued as a unique marine environment and much loved by those who are lucky enough to visit it, it is nevertheless relatively poorly explored. The great variety of its naturaI habitats and the tremendous beauty of its remote uninhabited islands, intricate coral-reefs and desert coast-line together with its abundant wildlife and rich cultural heritage creare an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colour, form and movement which would be impossible to fully capture in any medium. In this book the author, Dr Peter Vine, draws upon his own experience of the region to bring to Iife historical, geographical, biological, cultural and commerciai aspects of the Red Sea and in so doing underlines the incredible wealth of this magnificent marine environment.