Bangladesh’s small-scale fisheries is going through a phase of multidimensional challenges. There is a lack of grassroot associations and organizations which affiliates fishers and protect their interests. The current study found that one of the root causes of all problems for sustainable and small-scale fisheries in the country stem from a lack of identification and recognition of fishers. Fishers face challenges in accessing loans, subsidies and schemes that are intended to support their lives and livelihoods. Fishing communities are seldom consulted in the decision making process and their participation is minimal in the policy making. In addition to these structural issues, lack of free access to open water bodies— currently under a leasing system controlled by the Ministry of Land—is a detriment to the sector’s holistic growth.