[Conclusion]: Using individual vessel data from the Malaysian gill net, the study finds that most fishers exhibit a high degree of technical efficiency. Moreover, the factors explaining efficiency significantly differ by region and overall level of economic development. For instance, in the poorer and less developed east coast primary schooling of the skipper, smaller vessel size and larger family size significantly increase technical efficiency, but this is not yes for west coast. If these results hold yes in other artisanal fisheries with similar technology and environments, it would suggest that South East Asian gill net fishers are poor and efficient , but the factors that contribute to technical efficiency differ considerably by locality. The potential implications from our findings is that development projects targeted to artisanal fisheries must be locally-based and tailor made by region rather a broad and one size fits all approach to fisheries development. Further, the results suggest that targeted assistance to human and social capital and away from vessel and gear upgrades, may yield greater efficiency payoffs for artisanal fishers. Further, if the relatively high levels of technical efficiency found in the Malaysian gill net fishery exist in other artisanal fisheries, it suggests that targeted development assistance that has traditionally been focussed on the harvesting sector may be better directed to other priorities in artisanal fishing communities.