Based on anthropological and historical research in Puerto Rico from 1996 to 2002, Perez's study explains how and why state intervention has retarded the development of small-scale fishing economies by discouraging opportunities for capital accumulation in coastal communities. Drawing on interviews with fishers, fishery agents and scientists, and government officials along with household surveys and archival research, Perez analyzes the rural economic development of the southern coast of the island and documents the contradictory effects of fisheries policy and industrial development in three separate fishing communities. Aided by the marketing strategies of the fisheries to create demand for their products, Puerto Rico's development policy stimulated immigration to fill temporary jobs; but this situation resulted in serious degradation of the coastal environment and fishery resources upon which the local population depended. Government intervention in fisheries policy also created contradictions between fisheries development and modernization on the one hand and conservation of fish stocks and resources influencing them on the other. Perez employs a variety of historical and ethnographic methods to shape an analysis extending beyond Puerto Rican fisheries to illuminate the discouraging interplay between household-based production regimes, intermittent infusions of state funds and expertise, and the strong stimulant of large-scale, though temporary, development projects.