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Fishing fleet flags, Isle of Man

Last modified: 2022-06-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: isle of man | herring fleet flags |
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Until 1993 there were some pennants for the admiral and vice-admiral of the herring fleet (responsible for the good conduct of the fishermen whilst at sea and for the regulation of the herring fishery), who were known since 1976 as Admiral and Vice-Admiral of the Fishing Fleet. The first pennants (until 1984) were red with a white canton charged with two fishes in blue for the admiral and one single fish for the vice-admiral. The proportions of those pennants are unknown, possibly 1:2. The one for the vice-admiral was swallow-tailed. In 1984 those pennants were lost and were replaced by new ones which were triangular: blue, charged with a silver fish, a scallop in white, and two little three-leg emblems for the admiral (one for the vice-admiral). In 1993, the act which gave power to the lieutenant-governor to appoint the Admiral and Vice Admiral of the Fishing Fleet was repealed and the pennants went out of use.

Source: Michel Lupant, Flags, coats of arms and badges of the Isle of Man, Centre Belgo-Européen d'Études des Drapeaux, November 1996.
Pascal Vagnat, 25 September 1998

Lord Admiral of the Herring Fleet flag

[Lord Admiral of the Herring Fleet flag] image by Doug, 3 January 2011

This flag was given, together with the title for three years to Sir Peter Scott of wildlife fame in 1962 and must be a very rare flag. The overall size is 580mm X 1.24m, so not actually 1:2. The other interesting thing that you discuss with these flags is the direction of the legs.

Some of the confusion as to which way the legs go, has to lie in the design. You say that the flags must be sewn back to back to make it look right from both sides but I suspect the common reason for the reversal will be the same as on this flag. If the flag is laid down with the hoisting end to the left, the legs are anticlockwise. The legs however are actually simply sewn back to back and when  viewed from the other side are actually therefore clockwise. I guess in line with the legend being that 'whichever way I land I land upright', you can add 'always backwards and forwards too'.

The fish are stitched on in double sided panels to the main flag and are of the same orientation from both sides.

Doug, 3 January 2011

Admiral of the Manx Fishing Fleet pennant

[Lord Admiral of the Herring Fleet flag]image located by Vanja Poposki, 22 May 2022

An unused example of the pennant awarded to and flown by the Admiral of the Manx Fishing Fleet, dating from 1985.

A blue and yellow cotton pennant with a scallop shell and 3 legs emblem designed by the Manx artist, John H.Nicholson, 1985. The new design with the scallop shell reflects the changing natice of the Manx fishing industry and the increased importance of scallop fishing. The new pennant replaced an earlier design of two herring and the three legs on a red background

Traditionally, the Admiral of the Herring Fleet was responsible for discipline and in charge of the fleet at sea and their duties were laid down by an Act of 1610. The Admiral and Vice-Admiral would be chosen from the most experienced masters of boats and their distinct flags, when lowered, would be used as a signal at sunset that the fleet could shoot their nets. By the 20th century the office had fallen into disuse, but was revived in 1962 as an honorary appointment but there have been no appointments since 1993.¢ury=&pos=14

Vanja Poposki, 22 May 2022