P>This study assessed the performance of fishery cooperatives in six selected fishing areas along the central and southern Aegean coasts of Turkey during the 2002-2003 fishing season, in particular with regard to their stated objectives (e.g. member-fisher satisfaction recognition by fishery management authorities). A total of 127 member-fishers (72% of all active fishers in the study area) as well as fishery cooperative directors were interviewed. The results indicated the various strengths of these cooperatives as well as their limitations. Performance below full potential was due to internal factors such as lack of solidarity and qualified business management skills, as well as external factors relating to weak legislative support by the government, the tax system and the lack of training. However, through their contribution to local society and their function in assisting management bodies, cooperatives play a significant role in Turkish small-scale fisheries. They are therefore in need of further capacity building through specific encouragement from the government, academics, and fishers in order to improve their performance.