The coastal ecosystems of the Philippines are among the most heavily fished areas in the world. High dependency on fishery resources by an expanding population have resulted in overexploited and deteriorated fish stocks, perpetuating widespread poverty in fishing communities. Reducing fishing pressure through livelihood support provision for fishers could potentially alleviate poverty and mitigate deteriorating fisheries at the same time. However, this requires understanding fishers' behavior toward exiting the fishery and how different socioeconomic factors affect this behavior. We determined fishers' willingness to exit the fishery for different catch and monetary incentive scenarios in 6 coastal towns in the South China Sea biogeographic region of the Philippines. Half the fishers surveyed would continue fishing even when catches fall to 0.5. kg a day. This translates to less than US$1 gross income which is only about 15% of the daily fishers' household expenses in the studied towns. For monetary incentives, 18% of fishers were already willing to exit the fishery at US$111 monthly incentives. This proportion increased to 51% when the offer was increased to US$222 which is about the same as the fishers' monthly household expenses. When the offer was increased to US$333, 18% of fishers still said they would prefer to continue fishing. Fishers who were newer to the fishery and exerting less fishing effort showed more willingness to exit the fishery for both catch and monetary incentive scenarios. Age and educational attainment also influenced fishers' exit decision. These findings demonstrate high heterogeneity in fishers' behavior toward exiting the fishery and that properly targeting those who are more willing to exit the fishery in livelihood programs might both effectively reduce fishing pressure and give fish stocks and other marine ecosystems a chance to recover while improving the fishers' well-being.