Despite a growing national economy and a raft of initiatives designed to improve livelihoods, 39% of fishers in West Sumatra are poor. In this paper, we present the results of interview-based research with stakeholders in 25 fishing communities in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Thirty-one enabling and constraining livelihood development factors are identified and classified according to the Sustainable Livelihoods Analysis. We recommend that these factors form a basis from which decision makers ensure that future livelihood improvement programs adequately recognize the integrated nature of poverty amongst poor fishers. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.