Developing countries have traditionally been highly dependent on their natural resources for conversion into capital for consumption and development purposes. There is, however, a limit to which some natural resources, notably biotic renewable resources, can be exploited as overexploitation can lead to collapse and in the case of wildlife, extinction. This study focuses on the problems of exploiting an open-access renewable resource: the sea fisheries of Peninsular Malaysia. It traces the history of fisheries development in that country, and shows how open access to a rich resource can rapidly lead to overfishing and serious stock depletion. The various efforts of managing the fisheries are also discussed.