Price-fixing lawsuit against Norwegian salmon farmers comes to an end

editorial staff

The agreement was signed off on Thursday, ending the antitrust case against Norwegian salmon farmers.

The lawsuit was filed in 2019 on behalf of US buyers of Norwegian farmed salmon, alleging they conspired to fix prices of farmed salmon.

US Federal Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga approved the settlement, which involves affiliates of Cermaq Group, Greig Seafood, Leroy Seafood, Mowi and Ocean Quality. All of the companies had denied wrongdoing.

Alongside the settlement, Altonaga handed the salmon companies $25.5 million in legal fees and ordered them to pay $2.6 million in reimbursement of expenses.

Altonaga granted permission for the lawsuit to move forward 18 months ago, in March 2021, citing how suspicious transactions, meetings between executives, parallel pricing, etc. While she acknowledged that there were potentially “legitimate reasons” for the transactions, the federal judge said the defences from the companies would be heard at a later stage of the process.

“Markets can neither prosper nor properly function if those with the power to do so can conspire or collude to fix prices,” Peter Prieto of Podhurst Orseck PA and Chris Lebsock of Hausfeld LLP, co-lead counsel for the purchasers, said in a statement to Bloomberg Law. “Those US consumers who enjoy salmon, and consumers generally, are today better off because of the court’s approval of this settlement.”

Read more: Norway’s biggest salmon companies settle price-fixing lawsuit in the US for $85 million

“While all defendants reject that there is any basis for the claims and consider the complaints to be entirely unsubstantiated, all defendants in the US class action related to the direct purchaser case have now, following a mandatory mediation procedure, accepted a settlement offer from the direct purchaser plaintiffs subject to approval by the court of Southern District of Florida. The total settlement amount for all defendants is $85 million,” the salmon producers stated back in May when the settlement was initially reached.


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