Poverty is a pervasive issue in small-scale fisheries. Not only does it affect a substantial population, it is also a complex problem that is difficult to define, explain and solve. Thus, poverty in small-scale fisheries constitutes what in the planning literature is sometimes identified as a ‘wicked problem’. This paper applies the interactive governance framework to identify the limits of, and conditions for, governability and how they affect poverty, using the Lake Victoria small-scale fisheries in Tanzania as an illustrative case. More specifically, the paper first uses the three systems model of the interactive governance framework, i.e., the system-to-be-governed, the governing system, and the governing interaction, to explore poverty as a ‘wicked problem’ involving challenges pertaining to governability. Secondly, the paper suggests ‘governance elements’ that are fundamental for addressing poverty through the first, second, and third orders of governance. The paper emphasizes the importance of social values as crucial entry points in addressing poverty in small-scale fisheries.