The fisheries statistics systems of many countries are performing poorly, often failing to report on small-scale catches, particularly from subsistence and recreational fisheries. These deficiencies, which lead to the underestimation of catches, are particularly evident in overseas territories of developed countries. This study is an attempt to remedy this for the years 1950-2010 for the Australia Indian Ocean Territories, an area from which little reporting is done. The results suggest that the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had a catch of approximately 80 t·year-1 in the 1950s (essentially subsistence based), which increased, starting in the mid-1980s to reach 250 t·year-1 in recent years, mainly due to the introduction of recreational and later commercial fishing, with signs of overexploitation since 2000. The coastal catch from Christmas Island was tentatively assessed as being higher (40-70 t·year-1) in the 1950s and 1960s than in the 2000s (<30 t·year-1). Fisheries managers in these areas should focus on determining primary target species and their vulnerability to overfishing, as well as developing island specific recreational fishing management plans.