The purpose of this paper is to help fisheries officials gain a clearer understanding of small-scale fishing community cultures. By doing so, they will be better prepared to develop more successful management policies and practices, and to help people in such communities to improve their livelihoods. The paper suggests methods that might help fisheries managers to obtain reliable information about fishing cultures in an ethical manner, including the rapid acquisition of important information while working within tight budgetary and time constraints. It also gives recommendations on how the foregoing objectives can be achieved, underscoring the importance of sustaining small-scale fishers' rights of access to resources and integration of cultural considerations into fisheries-management policies and practices. Six contemporary case studies from distinct cultural regions of the world are annexed, richly exemplifying many of the issues discussed in the paper.