In many fisheries around the world, the failures of centralized, top-down management have produced a shift toward co-management—collaboration and sharing of decision making between government and stakeholders. This trend has led to a major debate between two very different co-management approaches—community-based fishery management and market-based individual transferable quota management. This paper examines the debate over the relative merits of these models and undertakes a socioeconomic analysis of the two approaches. The paper includes (1) an analysis of differences in the structure, philosophical nature, and underlying value systems of each, including a discussion of their treatment of property rights; (2) a socioeconomic evaluation of the impacts of each system on boat owners, fishers, crew members, other fishery participants, and coastal communities, as well as the distribution of benefits and costs among fishery participants; and (3) examination of indirect economic effects that can occur through impacts on conservation and fishery sustainability. The latter relate to (a) the conservation ethic, (b) the flexibility of management, (c) the avoidance of waste, and (d) the efficiency of enforcement. The paper emphasizes the need for a broader approach to analyzing fishery management options, one that recognizes and properly assesses the diversity of choices, and that takes into account the interaction of the fishery with broader community and regional realities.