One would hypothesize that the Common Fisheries Policy, as the umbrella framework for fisheries management in the EU would have the greatest impact on fishers’ communities across Europe. There are, however, biological, economic, social, and political factors, which vary among fishing communities that can affect how these communities react to changes. This paper explores the links between institutional arrangements and ecological dynamics in two European inshore fisheries socio-ecological systems, using a resilience framework. The Mediterranean small-scale fishers do not seem to have been particularly affected by the Common Fisheries Policy regulations but appear affected by competition with the politically strong recreational fishers and the invasion of the rabbit fish population. The inshore fishers along the East coast of Scotland believe that their interests are not as sufficiently protected as the interests of their offshore counterpart. Decisions and initiatives at global, EU, and sometimes national level, tend to take into account those fisheries sectors which have a national economic importance. A socio-ecological analysis can shift the focus from biological and economic aspects to more sustainable long-term delivery of environmental benefits linked to human wellbeing.