The recent UK Government Foresight Project on Global Food and Farming Futures recognises the intensifying pressure on the world's food system that we can expect in the next 40 years. Meeting the challenges these pressures present will require concerted effort by many research communities, among them those that focus on fisheries. In recent years there has been a growth in research pointing to the importance and potential of fisheries in a development and food security context. As a major source of animal protein, especially for poor consumers in developing countries, securing and making the most of the world's fisheries remains an important priority (Béné et al., 2007; World Bank/FAO/WorldFish, 2010). In parallel, after a period of disillusionment following the failures of investments in fisheries projects in the 1970s and 80s (Cunninghamet al., 2009; NFDS, 2009), interest in supporting this sector through foreign aid is returning. Not surprisingly, this resurgence of interest aligns with the renewed focus on agriculture and food security, following relative neglect in the 1990s (World Bank, 2008). With increasing interest in investing development aid in fisheries, it is legitimate to ask what recent research has to offer by way of guidance. In this short paper we summarise the potential significance of several emerging areas of fisheries research and management for helping secure and enhance fish supplies from wild harvesting in support of food security in the developing world. Our focus is on small-scale fisheries, for reasons summarised below, these fisheries present a critical frontier in the challenge to increase the contribution of fish to poverty reduction and sustainable development.We have selected four areas –loosely titled 'Small-scale fisheries' (highlighting gender and inland fisheries), 'Governance reform', 'Resilience in practice' and 'External drivers'. Although more conventional fisheries topics such as effort reduction, fish stock sustainability and gear technology remain important, we feel these other broad areas of inquiry offer particular promise for supporting development efforts. Our intention is to provide readers with a short accessible introduction to these topics and to provide entry points to some of the recent literature.