Paper prepared for 54th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands 12-17 November 2001. Recent research on the management of conflict in tropical fisheries indicates that flexible local institutions supported and recognised by government form an integral part of fisheries management and are crucial to the successful management and resolution of conflicts. But what happens when such institutions do not exist or are not fully matured? Evidence from the Turks and Caicos Islands shows that in some circumstances factors other than institutional formation are equally important. Based on data collected in the Turks and Caicos Islands between 1999-2000, this paper describes the constraints to fisheries management on small islands and then analyses how conflicts are managed and resolved. The paper finds that, although a number of institutional structures are found on the islands, social capital is also a very important component in the process of conflict management. The analysis of social capital is now popular in the social sciences, but has rarely been applied to fisheries management issues.