A side of Scottish Sea Farms salmon. SSF managing director Jim Gallagher says price fixing claims made by lawyers for retailers including its own best customer, M&S, have no substance or foundation.

Two Scotland salmon farmers among those facing damages claim from UK retailers

Mowi and Scottish Sea Farms are named by group that includes M&S, Asda, Morrison’s, Aldi, and the Co-op and wants £675m

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Mowi Scotland and Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) are among a group of salmon producers facing a claim for hundreds of millions of pounds in damages from UK retailers that allege the fish farmers benefited from price fixing, it has been revealed.

Supermarket chains Asda; Iceland Foods; Marks and Spencer; Morrison’s and its subsidiary International Seafoods Limited; Aldi; the Co-operative Group; and online retailer Ocado allege that a cartel operated by Norwegian-owned or Norway-based salmon farmers illegally pushed up prices and cost them £675 million between 2011 and 2019.

The retailers are seeking damages from Bremnes Seashore, Cermaq Group, Grieg Seafood, Grieg Seafood UK, Lerøy Seafood Group, Lerøy Seafood UK, SalMar, Mowi, Mowi Consumer Products UK, Mowi Scotland, Scottish Sea Farms, SSF Hjaltland UK, and SSF Shetland.

Grieg Seafood UK was bought by SSF – which is jointly owned by SalMar and Lerøy - in December 2021. Cermaq is owned by Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi but is headquartered in Norway.


The claim by the UK retailers means that SSF faces action by its biggest customer, Marks and Spencer, among others. Mowi Scotland’s biggest customer, Sainsbury’s, is not taking part in the action, and neither is the UK’s largest food retailer, Tesco.

The damages claim is being made in connection with a long-running European Commission investigation into alleged price fixing that included dawn raids at offices of fish farmers in the UK and other EU member states in February 2019. Grieg Seafood Shetland, Mowi Scotland, and SSF were subjected to unannounced inspections.

The Commission is believed to have chosen to raid the UK offices as a "back door" way to look into the affairs of the companies' Norwegian owners. The Commission was unable to raid offices in Norway because it is not an EU member state and as an EEA (European Economic Area) country is not under the same EU jurisdiction as the pre-Brexit UK was.

Statement of Objections

On January 25 this year, the Commission announced that it had sent a Statement of Objections (SO) to several exporters of Norwegian salmon, setting out the Commission’s preliminary assessment that the exporters, in some instances, may have exchanged commercially sensitive information in relation to spot market sale of whole Norwegian farmed salmon to the EU.

Fish Farming Expert understands that UK retailers then had a limited time in which to claim damages following the SO announcement, even though the case is not yet proved.

The European Commission’s investigation previously prompted class actions against Norwegian salmon producers by salmon buyers in the United States and Canada, with both being settled out of court without admission of guilt.

SSF was included in the early stages of those actions but later dropped from proceedings.

'No foundation for claims'

Referring to the claim by UK retailers, SSF managing director Jim Gallagher said: “As with the original ongoing European Commission investigation focused on Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon, and related class actions filed in the US and Canada, we do not consider there to be any substance or foundation to these latest claims.

“We will, once again, engage fully in the process and expect the assertions against Scottish Sea Farms to be dismissed, just as they were in the US and Canada.”

Mowi declined to comment.