Abstract Steady state and dynamic management models are developed for analyzing the Malaysian marine fisheries. These models originate from the theoretical concepts of the natural resource economics namely the open access, limited entry and the intertemporal fishery models. Such management models are deemed necessary because of the need to sustain the depleting resource and degrading environment. Marine fisheries had been managed under open access for a long time before government intervention took effect sometime during the 1960s. Open access and government intervention during the earlier phase of economic development contributed to the immediate pressure on fisheries. Community development programs geared to alleviate poverty among the fishermen apparently contradicted the effort of sustaining fisheries. Even today this fundamental management objective of sustainable development of fishery resource is not fully adhered to. This study suggests that ability to sustain fishery requires government intervention that can direct resource use to steady state or intertemporal optimal levels.