Total marine fisheries catches from the Exclusive Economic Zone of Benin and its coastal lagoons were estimated between 1950 and 2010. The reconstruction considered artisanal and industrial sectors and their discards, subsistence fisheries from the marine and lagoon waters including those generated by women for the first time. Small-scale catch estimates were obtained using catch per unit of effort and per capita catch estimates alongside with the number of fishers and the number of pirogues, while industrial catches were estimated by country using the number of industrial vessels and their catch per unit of effort. Total catches were estimated at 4.0 million t between 1950 and 2010 of which 3.9 million t were domestic (and mainly from lagoon areas) compared to 1.7 million t of catch data supplied to the FAO. Catches showed a decreasing pattern in contrast to the increase observed in official data, which puts in jeopardy the livelihoods of the many fishers relying solely on fisheries.