The West Indian Ocean is rich in biodiversity and marine resources. This paper gives an overview of fisheries development and resource management in the region. There are many shared issues that must be addressed within countries and at the regional level. These are illustrated by examples from three countries. In Mozambique the issues of lack of information about artisanal fisheries, excessive harvesting of juveniles and conflicts between artisanal and commercial sectors are highlighted. Elements in addressing this include targeted research and decision-making support tools. The challenges faced in Somalia stem primarily from the political instability that contributed to an absence of sound fisheries policy. An example of a highly participatory process to develop the policy provides a model for other countries. In Tanzania, the issue of dynamite fishing was addressed by local communities initiating a program to promote wise use of the resources. There is a clear opportunity for better collaboration and greater integration of fisheries research and management on a regional basis. There is also much to be learnt by the sharing of experiences between countries. This has been initiated by some recently launched regional cooperation projects, but there are still many challenges facing this region.