Known as livelihood approaches, this new way of looking at fisheries management is becoming increasingly common, particularly with development agencies and other organisations. However, there is a perception that the concept of livelihoods and livelihood approaches is not well understood or taken-up by policymakers and fisheries managers. Recognising this, the technical advisory Body for Fisheries Management (TAB) commissioned the STREAM initiative to review previous studies that used livelihood approaches to evaluate fisheries and fishing communities in the Lower Mekong Basin. This information serves to illustrate the characteristics, benefits and practical use of livelihood approaches in fisheries management and development. STREAM also made a series of recommendations that would help the uptake and implementation of these approaches in the future.