'A tough time for line fishermen in SA'

After fishing rights expired on 31 December 2013, line fishermen across SA fear for their futures.

Fisheries Department's Desmond Stevens meets with the SA Commercial Linefish Association on 7 January 2014. Picture: Mia Spies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A commercial fisherman from Richards Bay says it's a tough time for fishermen in South Africa.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is overseeing an appeal challenging the allocation of fishing rights.

Department officials met with representatives of the South African Commercial Linefish Association on Tuesday.

Fishing rights expired on New Year's Eve, prompting fishermen to reapply.

But only 115 of the 303 applications were successful, which sparked protests and widespread criticism.

Fisherman Len Harvey, who has been in the industry for almost 25 years, says although he received fishing rights he is standing up for deserving fishermen who weren't so lucky.

"The past few weeks were hectic, they were very stressful. My hope is that all the guys who deserve it will get their rights, that's all."