This work concerns the on-going development of efficient and environmentally friendly antifouling paints for biofouling control on large ocean-going ships. It is illustrated how a detailed mathematical model for a self-polishing antifouling paint exposed to seawater can be used as a product engineering tool to obtain a quick estimate of the paint behaviour that a given seawater-soluble pigment will provide. In the present context, "pigment" refers to relevant particulate solids of organic-, inorganic-, or biological nature. Simulations performed at 15 and 30degreesC suggest that pigment solubility and seawater diffusivity of dissolved pigment species have a significant influence on the polishing and leaching behaviour of a typical self-polishing paint system. The pigment size distribution, on the other hand, only has a minor influence on the paint-seawater interaction. Simulations also indicate that only compounds which are effective against biofouling at very low seawater concentrations are useful as active antifouling paint ingredients. The need for model verification and exploration of practical issues, subsequent a given pigment has been found of interest, is discussed. The model approach is of relevance in the search for novel antifouling paints and for the development of accelerated test methods. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.