This paper examines the unique social, economic, and environmental challenges surrounding the livelihoods of artisanal fishers and the coastal communities who depend upon them, by analysing the experiences of the local communities on Sonadia Island in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh. These challenges have been understood, characterised, and examined by obtaining primary data from the fishers on Sonadia Island. This paper illustrates that the artisanal fisheries sector in Bangladesh contributes significantly to improve the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable coastal communities. A comprehensive understanding of areas within the regulatory framework that need reform was obtained by analysing the current laws, policies, and institutions that regulate artisanal fisheries. This paper identifies several weaknesses of the existing regulatory framework that can be improved to enable better security for artisanal fishers and their livelihoods. This paper argues that existing laws and policies should be reformed, and institutions should be afforded adequate resources to protect this vital sector and achieve sustainable development. Other suggestions include the implementation of specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and related targets, and the amelioration of a range of matters pertaining to fishery, technology, weather, climate, and security at the national level. This paper finally contends that a holistic approach needs to be adopted in order to address the variety of challenges surrounding artisanal fisheries, the fishers and communities that depend on them. This approach will allow for the promotion of sustainable management by implementing a diverse range of legal and policy-based strategies, to address the underlying socio-economic conditions that inhibit the artisanal fishers from attaining secure livelihoods.