Governments, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders are striving to develop practices, policies, and vehicles to make the tropical marine ornamental trade sustainable. Small-scale fisheries based on post-larval capture and culture (PCC) promise to contribute to this goal by (1) removing the risk of damaging corals (inherent in harvesting adults of target species established on reefs) by collecting post-larvae with light traps, nets, and purpose-built temporary shelters as they settle from the plankton to the substrate; and (2) translating the high mortality of post-larvae at settlement into high rates of survival in culture. Possible concerns about overfishing of post-larvae, harvesting the juveniles after they have run the gauntlet of predation at settlement, and the large proportion of bycatch can be eliminated or greatly alleviated by restricting the size and quantity of fishing gear, designing it to retain bycatch alive, and releasing bycatch at times and places that minimize predation. However, special caution is needed when PCC is used at small, isolated islands with self-replenishing populations. Although PCC is environmentally friendly, its contribution to the ornamental trade is expected to be limited. Large variation in the abundance and species composition of settling post-larvae among years, the logistics and costs of operating labor-intensive operations in remote locations, and competition with responsible enterprises harvesting wild adults or producing ornamentals in hatcheries are expected to constrain the viability and market share of dedicated PCC enterprises. PCC is expected to have the greatest uptake by part-time artisanal fishers in developing countries with infrastructure for exporting marine ornamentals. Such fishers are more immune to temporal variation in the supply of post-larvae—they can engage in PCC when valuable post-larvae are abundant and switch to other sources of income when they are scarce. Livelihood opportunities for smallholders could be enhanced through promotion of the environmental benefits of PCC among hobbyists maintaining marine ornamentals.