This paper assesses the extent to which the importance of a country’s fisheries sector is reflected in its national development plan/ poverty reduction strategy paper. We hypothesize that those countries in which the sector plays an integral role in enhancing trade and food security are most likely to effectively incorporate fisheries in their development plans. This is examined through the systematic assessment of the contents of such plans. We find that while five countries offer a compelling case regarding mainstreaming, only two have significantly done so. Reasons are suggested and areas for future research highlighted.