African maritime countries take the majority of their animal protein from fish. Bound with tradition and a promise of food and other values, African fisheries also provide a source of livelihood for over 35 million coastal fishers. Yet, as in many other regions of the world, the fishing sector is plagued with policy failures, and illegal activities. This paper summarizes the key points in the evolution of African fisheries in terms of exploitation, policy, and maritime security trends. It addresses how access to fishing by the small-scale sector is increasingly hindered by the increasing power and scope of an industrial fleet often involved in Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. It also discusses the impacts of ineffective enforcement against overexploitation and illegal fishing, piracy, human smuggling and climate-change risks for coastal communities, as well as policy measures and initiatives to reverse the existing trends.