The blue economy concept has been discussed at high-level policy fora since the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Simultaneously, a burgeoning body of literature on the blue economy is emerging from academia. This scoping analysis uses data from journal articles and policy documents to provide a preliminary understanding of how small-scale fisheries in the blue economy are framed by academics and policymakers. We found that high-level policies include ideal proposals for fisheries and other ocean sectors, but in ways that suit industrial-scale fisheries and aquaculture more than small-scale fisheries. Academics highlight emerging uncertainties for small-scale fisheries. The review points out differences between small-scale and industrial-scale fisheries, particularly the social aspects that could make small-scale fisheries more suitable for achieving some of the stated goals of a blue economy. We conclude that, while the blue economy in its broadest sense is still a work in progress, it should be guided by clearly articulated goals in terms of governance that supports small-scale fisheries.