The study evaluates the status of small-scale fishermen and fishing operations, using socio-economic indicators and economic viability estimates in six selected fishing areas of Turkey during the 2002-2003 fishing season. Fifty-six percent of all small-scale fishing boats investigated achieved a positive net profit, fully recovering their operational and investment costs. Considering the viability of the fishery, 56% can be considered as economically viable. Percentages of negative gross cash flow (GCF) for each of the vessels in the district was 56% in Foc, a, 57% in Karaburun, 15% in Mordog. an, 16% in Akyaka, 65% in Akc, apinar, and 44% in Marmaris. On the other hand, when sustainability is defined with more than an economic performance ratio of 10%, only 41% of the small-scale fishing vessels seem to have shown favourable results. Criteria such as comparatively higher catch, smaller crew size and lower labour costs, structure of the fishery or misreporting might have had a slight role in affecting the overall results which indicate that livelihood and economic viability are threatened by irregular and relatively low income levels in the small-scale fisheries sector. Given the economic conditions of small-scale fishing communities, it is suggested that all persons concerned at the community, industry and government levels should take a fresh look at the problem of sustainability. As such, more attention needs to be paid to the fishery management option by looking at performance data and having long-term monitoring of the socio-economic indicators.