Fisheries scholars often face legal terminologies in their work and find themselves having to interpret these terms. Some scholars point out that the use of such terms and their interpretation are sometimes inaccurate which maybe a result of the difference between the conventional use of terms, how fisheries scholars use such terms, and how the legal profession uses them. Such differences lead to confusion. Earlier literature included confusion over terms related to property rights such as ownership, privatization, private property rights, privileges, and common property rights. More recent literature include confusion over much more terms such as human rights, constitutional rights, customary rights, indigenous rights, user rights, and the right to fish among other terms. This confusion is apparent in small-scale fisheries literature as well, especially in the wake of the United Nations Food and Agricultures publication of the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines and concerns over the privatization of small-scale fisheries. To clear this confusion regarding legal terminology within the fisheries management literature, in particular, small-scale fisheries, this article explains the major legal systems in the world today, the nature of legal terminology, and it deciphers legal terms which most often appear in fisheries literature. The objective of this paper is threefold. First, it aims to clarify the nature, development, and meaning of legal terminology. Second, it aims to assist fisheries scholars in reading and interpreting legal texts. Third, it aims to assist those parties with a stake in developing small-scale fisheries management policy to formulate better policies.