In this article we analyze co-management arrangements in Malawi through the lenses of the concept of power. We focus the analysis at the local level where most of the more important actors operate. These include the fishing communities and the Department of Fisheries, but also the traditional leaders and the new local management entities created through co-management reforms—the so-called beach village committees. Our analysis, based on decentralization and power frameworks, shows that co-management arrangements are characterized by unequal power distribution among these different actors, often resulting in the marginalization of the fishers themselves. In this new institutional landscape the role of the perceived key partners including the traditional leaders and the Department of Fisheries remains unclear, with a combination of both positive and negative outcomes.