Sustainable fisheries take into consideration that managed fisheries ecosystems shift over time in response to evolving environmental as well as market and political factors. These contextual forces are especially valuable in understanding developing countries such as Mexico, where the unconsolidated fisheries administration faces productive marine ecosystems but unsustainable fisheries. To recognize the issues that have inhibited the consolidation of a regulatory system for sustainable fisheries, a contextual factor analysis was applied to the co-development of two current policies in the Mexican fishery regime: fisheries and environmental policies. Six historical phases have been identified in which there are few long periods of stability and frequent short periods of radical change that alternate between stable and adverse contextual situations. These short and contrasting contextual situations cause a kind of tug-of-war in Mexican fisheries policy-making. On the one hand, domestic economic, scientific, and technological forces seem to slowly lead toward the consolidation of sustainable fisheries; on the other hand, domestic policies drift from one position to another at other timing than the international fisheries and environmental policies. Although recent crises seem to highlight new periods of radical change in Mexico, they also provide an opportunity to adopt new structural plans to consolidate domestic forces as a basis for long-term strategies.