Salmon giants accused of price fixing in $483 million consumer lawsuit

Editorial Staff

The case “on behalf of up to 44 million UK consumers” was filed 20 June with the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Six major salmon farming companies face a £382 million ($483 million) legal claim for allegedly colluding to inflate the price of farmed Atlantic salmon, resulting in UK consumers overpaying for years.

The companies named in the lawsuit are Mowi, SalMar, Lerøy, Scottish Sea Farms, and Grieg.

Waterside Class Limited, represented by law firm Simmons and Simmons, filed the claim on behalf of consumers who purchased salmon between October 2015 and May 2019.

Anne Heal, who initiated the action, alleges that these companies formed a cartel to artificially raise salmon prices by up to 20%.

“This action seeks fair redress for millions of British consumers who, we say, have spent years overpaying for one of the UK’s best-loved foods,” said Heal. “We are asking salmon producers to compensate consumers who have paid up to 20% more for their salmon.”

The claim coincides with ongoing regulatory investigations in the EU and similar legal actions in the US and Canada, where settlements have been reached. The lawsuit asserts that consumers, not supermarkets, bore the brunt of the price increases.

Heal, an ex-BT executive and current Chair of Volunteering Matters, emphasized the impact on consumers: “This action claims that some of the Atlantic salmon farming industry’s biggest companies have conspired to raid the wallets of hard-working shoppers. By bringing this collective action, I want to give a voice to affected consumers across the UK.”

The European Commission’s preliminary findings earlier this year indicated that Norwegian salmon producers, including Mowi, SalMar, Lerøy, and Grieg, breached EU antitrust rules by exchanging sensitive sales information to set prices.

Norway, which accounts for over half of the world’s farmed Atlantic salmon production, has seen its producers involved in multimillion-dollar settlements in the US and Canada over similar price-fixing allegations.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for UK consumers who purchased farmed Atlantic salmon or products containing up to 50% salmon between October 2015 and May 2019. Heal has secured funding to cover the legal costs, allowing consumers to join the claim without incurring expenses.

Patrick Boylan, Head of Simmons and Simmons’ UK Dispute Resolution Group, stated, “Competition laws are there to protect everyone. Thankfully, we have a fast-evolving collective proceedings regime to help vindicate consumers’ rights.”


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