Norwegian Salmon Producers Face Antitrust Lawsuit

Norway’s biggest salmon-farming companies face a federal class-action lawsuit that accuses them of working together to raise the price of farmed fish. 

The plaintiffs, led by Ohio wholesaler Euclid Fish Company, allege that some of the world’s biggest producers of Atlantic salmon – including Marine Harvest (Mowi ASA), Bremnes Seashore, Grieg Seafood, Lerøy Seafood, SalMar and Cermaq – worked together to artificially boost prices. This allegedly included common methods of collusion, like coordinating sales prices, and more complex approaches, like buying up lower-priced product from other competitors. The goal, according to Euclid, was to drive up the spot price and – in turn – increase the price paid on long-term contracts that are linked to spot rates. 

The suit notes that the European Commission has launched an investigation into similar price-fixing allegations against Norwegian producers. In February 2019, the EC confirmed that it carried out “unannounced inspections” at the offices of several salmon farming companies, and said that it “has concerns that the inspected companies may have
violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.” The U.S. Department of Justice has since begun its own inquiry as well.

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