Pelagic fish stocks are subject to fluctuations that are driven by climate change, overfishing and changes in market conditions. The fluctuating nature of pelagic fisheries creates uncertainties in fishers’ income, thereby adversely affecting their livelihoods. The aim of this contribution is to reduce the risk and vulnerability fishers face by developing a pay-in-pay-out Sustainability Insurance Fund for fluctuating pelagic fisheries. We build an ecological-economic model and use it to investigate the feasibility of creating a Sustainability Insurance Fund that would be funded through a levy charged to the industry in good years, and/or contributions from government and/or private entities such as foundations and non-governmental organizations. A Sustainable Insurance Fund could therefore provide a source of short-term income to affected fishers in years of severe poor pelagic fish catches. The fund would thus address the possible economic shortcomings created by severe events, and thus reduce the motivation of the government to continue allowing excessively risky fishing levels when the stock falls below the target reference level necessary to support sustainability.