The Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) provided legal support to the CBFM-2 project and in particular to the 130 Community Based Organisations established under the project. The project was implemented against an uncertain legal background due to many changes in the way that wetlands and fisheries in Bangladesh have been managed over recent decades. Many of the key interventions, such as sanctuaries have yet to receive legal recognition. Many currently accepted norms and practices have come about through gazette notifications or individual decisions rather than being supported by Acts or clear policies. This paper outlines the legal background for community managed fisheries in Bangladesh and the challenges faced during implementation of the project. It also suggests what needs to happen if community managed fisheries are to become more widespread in Bangladesh.