Bunhill: Elf Enterprise Oil

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The accounts of Elf Enterprise Oil will look decidedly fishy this year, after paying pounds 80,000 to 20 fishing boat skippers off the Isle of Wight as a result of research work there.

The companies are dragging a one-and-a-half mile cable, which sends pulses into the earth's crust to discover oil deposits. Unfortunately, the area is a rich fishing ground and the skippers claim that the pulses have frightened away the mackerel. One skipper, Ron Cowling, said: 'Putting off the mackerel affects fishing for all the other fish, such as tope and rays.'

Twenty boats have been blockading the research base, at an estimated cost to the companies of pounds 100,000 a day. Now they have promised to give 20 skippers pounds 2,000 up front and another pounds 2,000 when the work is finished.