Most domestic and international fisheries pursued by United States fishermen are fully or overcapitalized. It is becoming increasingly recognized that fishery management programs should be aimed to balance the use of human and capital resources with available fishery resources and this may involved the elimination or redundant fishing effort. At the same time, however, there is considerable pressure for the Federal Government to provide programs of assistance to help vessel owners meet both obstacles to economic well-being and proposed regulations on safety, pollution abatement and mandatory product inspection. This paper examines the conflict between financial assistance which would maintain or expand capacity and fishery management which would reduce the number of vessels in overcapitalized fisheries. In the past, Federal financial assistance programs have stimulated vessel construction, conversions and repairs that have added to fleet harvesting capacity. Even though Federal financial assistance programs have affected only a portion of the net addition of vessels in various fleets, these programs are being carefully considered in light of the fishery management problem.