In this paper, we first look retrospectively at the perceptions embraced by academics, international agencies and practitioners of the relation between fisheries and poverty in developing countries and we try to identify the underlying paradigms which have structured these perceptions. The review reveals how the debate has focused on the economic (low income) and biological (overexploitation) aspects of the problem. We then revisit these perceptions in the light of the recent conclusions drawn from other sectors and in particular from the new “consensus” on poverty proposed by the international community. Incorporation of the recent research on poverty helps to show how socio-institutional mechanisms governing people’s access to fisheries resources––rather than the resources themselves––play such a critical role in vulnerability to poverty. Finally, a typology identifying four different categories of intrasectoral exclusion mechanisms is developed and illustrated through empirical studies derived from African and Asian fisheries.