The sister of a teenager who drowned at Salmon Holes has renewed calls for the notorious fishing spot to be closed permanently following the 20-year anniversary of her brother’s death.
Angela Willans, whose brother Christopher Gentle drowned in 1993 while rock fishing with his best mate Matthew Eames, has questioned the State Government’s $300,000 commitment to install rock bolts at notorious fishing spots along the coast to improve safety.
Last Friday marked two decades since Mr Gentle slipped from the rocks and was taken out to sea with his mate who attempted to rescue him.
Their bodies were found nearly two weeks later.
Ms Willans said her brother and his mate were unaware of the dangers of rock fishing at the location.
She believed funding could be better spent on education instead of installing rock bolts for fishermen to anchor themselves to avoid being swept into the ocean.
Ms Willans said she would prefer Salmon Holes to be closed, but if that was not possible then the number of deaths and near drownings at the fishing spot needed to be emphasised with stronger signage to drive home the dangers.
“He was with his best mate at the time. They didn’t realise (the dangers),” she said.
Ms Willans said installing signs with the faces of the people who had drowned would make the dangers appear more real, especially to tourists.
“Otherwise it doesn’t mean anything,” she said.
“There is no reminder of the deaths and the dangers. Tourists have no idea. It is a black spot on Albany’s reputation.”
The drowning death of Perth teenager Mohammad Reza Mirzaie in 2011 sparked a State-wide Department of Environment and Conservation rock fishing safety review, which left open the possibility of closing dangerous locations such as Salmon Holes to the public if more incidents occurred.A DEC spokesperson yesterday said signage at the area had been reviewed following incidents and changes have been made to improve warning messages.
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