A critical component of any fishery is its economic viability, and understanding the underlying socioeconomic factors that affect fishing activity and profitability allows for more informed management. Nevertheless, data on small-scale fisheries in the Caribbean are limited, potentially inhibiting informed and appropriately scaled policy implementation. In an attempt to better understand the economics of reef-associated fisheries across the Caribbean, interviews were conducted with over 182 commercial reef fishers in three types of communities (heavily dependent on reef fishing, on reef tourism and on both) in each of three contrasting countries (St. Kitts and Nevis, Honduras and Barbados). For each of the nine study sites, estimated annual net revenues from reef-associated fishing ranged from US PPP$0.03–0.95 million. Reef fishing was most profitable in St. Kitts and Nevis, where fishers have access to productive lobster and conch fishing grounds and an export market. In the Bay Islands (Honduras), most reef-related revenues were derived from snapper and grouper fisheries (for export), whereas in Barbados, where these high-value species (conch, lobster, snapper and grouper) are rare, revenues were comparably low. The reef fishery also represented an important social safety net across all communities, providing employment and a potentially critical source of protein to many low-income persons. These results demonstrate the current socioeconomic benefits of reef-associated fishing to coastal communities as well as the diversity of economic values among Caribbean sites. This site diversity highlights the need for fisheries policy and management to be guided by site-specific information rather than generalized assumptions about the industry.