Norwegian salmon producers are facing a potential CAD 500 million (€344 million/$382 million) class-action lawsuit related to allegations of price fixing, the latest in a string of complaints against the salmon farmers in both North America and the European Union.
Grieg Seafood, Leroy Seafood Group, Mowi, a number of their US and Canadian subsidiaries, as well as Norway's SalMar and Scottish Sea Farms are named as defendants, the lawsuit filed in Toronto Federal Court on Jan. 3 says.
Canadian plaintiffs "suffered loss and damage caused by the conspiracy," the filing reads. "These price increases not only impacted farmed Atlantic salmon sold by the defendants, but also all farmed Atlantic salmon sold in North America."
The plaintiff leading the class action suit is Ontario-based activist Irene Breckon. She is representing a class of consumers who "purchased farmed Atlantic salmon and products" dating back to July 2015.
Toronto-based law firm Sotos is representing Breckon in the lawsuit, which still needs to be certified for class-action status by the Toronto federal court.
In 2017 Sotos also represented Breckon in a $1 billion (€900 million) class-action lawsuit alleging retailer Loblaw's conspired to fix the price of packaged bread in Canada over the past two decades. That case is still ongoing, according to Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP, which now handles the case.
US seafood company Euclid Fish Company filed a class-action lawsuit against the multiple salmon farming companies in April 2019, which has now attracted several other plaintiffs.
The US lawsuits followed a European Commission investigation of the Atlantic salmon farming companies that began on Feb. 19.
The commission acted after it received information that the companies have allegedly taken part in anti-competitive agreements to increase the prices of the fish sold.