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Mollag or fishing net buoy

Date made: late 19th century

Place made: Peel

Description: Handmade mollag or fishing net buoy from the Manx Nickey or fishing boat 'Hannah'.

Mollags were traditionally said to have been made out of sun-dried dogskins or sheepskins and these particular mollags appear to have been made from dog skins. Each mollag has a wooden tally or marker sticker attached to a rope, the full-length of rope or the 'thow' would then be used to attach the mollags to the top of the fishing net.

Mollags were an essential part of drift net fishing as a fishing boat's set or 'train' of nets would create a vertical wall of fishing net over a mile long behind the fishing boat. The nets would be held vertically in the sea by the mollags or fishing net buoys. In the 19th century, mollags also had alternative uses such as being carried by the 'Mollag Bands' as they went from house to house at Christmas and apparently being used as containers to smuggle illegal spirits. Mollags began to disappear in the 20th century as fishing nets buoys began to be made in new materials such as plastic and drift netting was replaced by new types of fishing in the 1930s-1940s.

Measurements: overall: 80 cm x 50 cm x 25 cm

Materials: animal

Object name: mollag

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1970-0085a


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