Vietnam’s marine fisheries are considered to be small scale and are concentrated in coastal near-shore waters. This has resulted in heavy pressure on near-shore fisheries resources. Near-shore fisheries are considered by fishers and the government to be over-exploited, causing hardship for many coastal communities. This paper reviews and analyzes changes in policy towards small-scale fisheries in Vietnam over the last two decades. The primary issues facing the small-scale fisheries in Vietnam are to restructure the near-shore fisheries and to address over-capacity. Recommended actions include improved fisheries statistics, resources for provincial fisheries staff, and a coordinated and integrated approach involving a mixed strategy of resource management; resource restoration; economic and community development; and new governance arrangements.