This paper explores the importance of a focus on the fundamental goals of resilience and adaptive capacity in the governance of uncertain fishery systems, particularly in the context of climate change. Climate change interacts strongly with fishery systems, and adds to the inherent uncertainty in those complex, interlinked systems. The reality of these uncertainties and linkages leads to a recognition of the need for robust and adaptive management approaches in order to enhance system resilience. To this end, the paper proposes a focus on stronger moves to ‘integrative science’ methods and processes – to support suitable institutional responses, a broader planning perspective, and development of suitable resilience-building strategies. The paper explores how synergies between institutional change and integrative science can facilitate the development of more effective fisheries policy approaches. Specifically, integrative science can provide a vehicle (1) to examine policy options with respect to their robustness to uncertainty, particularly to climate-related regime shifts and (2) to allow better assessments of behavioral responses of fish, humans and institutions. The argument is made that understanding these aspects of fishery systems and fishery governance is valuable even in the absence of climate-induced processes of change, but that attention to climate change both reinforces the need for, and facilitates the move toward, implementation of integrative science for improved fishery governance.