The fisheries sector constitutes an important economic activity in the maritime nations of South Asia. Its importance lies in creating millions of jobs in capture fisheries as well as fish farming (also referred to as aquaculture), ensuring food security and earning considerable amounts of foreign exchange. Family farming and its manifestation in the fisheries sector, artisanal and small-scale fishing and fish farming is the link between the past, when institutions and opportunities in use of resources were quite different, and the present, when markets have become interconnected and a globalized society has emerged. Therefore, to survive in this new society, artisanal and small-scale fishing and fish farming families need to change. The challenge now lies in identifying the core value of small-scale fisheries, such as equitable access to resources and distribution of benefits, and empowering the sector to pursue these values in the changed environment. Both state and non-state actors need to play a major role in this regard. The FAO Guidelines on Small-scale Fisheries provide a general direction on the possible role of different stakeholders and the same could be adopted based on national priorities to realize the full potential of the small-scale sector. Paper published in ‘Deep Roots’, Tudor Rose Publication, 2014.