Fishermen call for reinstatement of Stevens

Just over 100 Western Cape fishermen and their families took part in Tuesday’s protest.

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

CAPE TOWN - Just over 100 Western Cape fishermen and their families gathered outside the fisheries department offices in the Cape Town CBD in protest against the removal of the acting head.

Desmond Stevens is the latest in a string of people who've been removed from the post over the last few years.

He has been in the spotlight due to controversy around the allocation of fishing rights with the SA Commercial Linefish Association taking legal action against him and the department.

A fisherman from Pearly Beach in the Overberg region, Hendrik Latola, says Stevens must be reinstated as he was the only one who stood up for the needs of the poor.

"He [Stevens] made it very clear, publicly, that he supports small-scale fisheries and supports the poorest of the poor."

Meanwhile, the death of two Hout Bay fishermen sparked protests this week.

Fellow fishermen say they are forced to fish at night as they've been denied rights.