Inshore marine resources play an important role in the livelihoods of Pacific Island coastal communities. However, such reliance can be detrimental to inshore marine ecosystems. Understanding the livelihoods of coastal communities is important for devising relevant and effective fisheries management strategies. Semi-structured household interviews were conducted with householders in Langalanga Lagoon, Solomon Islands, to understand household livelihoods and resource governance in fishing-dependent communities. Households were engaged in a diverse range of livelihoods. Fishing, shell money production and gardening were the most important livelihoods. Proximity to an urban centre influenced how households accessed some livelihoods. Perceptions of management rules varied and different reasons were cited for why rules were broken, the most common reason being to meet livelihood needs. Current models of inshore small-scale fisheries management that are based on the notion of community-based resource management may not work in locations where customary management systems are weak and livelihoods are heavily reliant on marine resources. An important step for fisheries management in such locations should include elucidating community priorities through participatory development planning, taking into consideration livelihoods as well as governance and development aspirations.