A group of British retailers is reported to be claiming for damagaes against Norwegian salmon farmers including Lerøy.

British supermarkets claim for damages against Norwegian-owned salmon farmers

Allegations are ‘baseless’, says Lerøy


A group of British supermarkets has issued claims for damages in the UK against several Norwegian-owned aquaculture companies in connection with a European Commission investigation into alleged price fixing, salmon and trout farmer Lerøy Seafood Group said today in its report for the fourth quarter of 2023.

“The Group strongly rejects the claimants’ allegations and considers such claims from customers to be baseless,” said Lerøy, which co-owns one of Scotland’s biggest salmon producers, Scottish Sea Farms.

“In Europe, this type of claim is first and foremost relevant if the Commission adopts a decision in its ongoing investigation and the decision is upheld. The Group understands that the claims have been issued at this stage in an attempt to interrupt potential limitation of claims under certain laws.”

Offices raided

The European Commission initiated an investigation relating to suspicions of anti-competitive cooperation in the market for farmed Norwegian Atlantic salmon on February 19, 2019, which was before the UK left the European Union. The Commission’s investigators carried out unannounced inspections at offices of fish farmers in the UK and other EU member states. Grieg Seafood Shetland (now part of Scottish Sea Farms), Mowi Scotland and Scottish Sea Farms (owned 50-50 by SalMar and Lerøy) were raided.

The Commission was unable to raid offices in Norway, because it is not in the EU member state and as an EEA (European Economic Area) country is not under the same EU jurisdiction as the UK was at the time.

On January 25 this year, the Commission announced that it had sent a Statement of Objections (SO) to several exporters of Norwegian salmon, including Lerøy. The SO sets 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.

Allegations rejected

“Lerøy Seafood Group strongly rejects the Commission’s allegations,” the fish farmer said in its Q4 report. “The SO is not a final decision and has been issued in accordance with the Commission's ordinary procedures for such an

investigation. The SO includes the Commission’s preliminary assessments only. The company has a right of response and will after carefully reviewing the SO provide its comments to the Commission.

“The company has cooperated with the Commission throughout the Commission’s investigation, and will continue to work constructively with the Commission. It is standard practice that these investigations last several years. It is not possible at this stage to make any statement on whether the case will result in sanctions or other negative consequences for the group, or when the case will end.”

North America

A group of Norwegian salmon farmers who were being sued for alleged price fixing in the United States and Canada have reached settlements with plaintiffs but said they did so to end protracted and expensive court proceedings and denied liability.

In January 2023 the US Department of Justice closed a criminal investigation into alleged price fixing by Norwegian salmon farmers Mowi,  SalMar, Lerøy, and Grieg. "Mowi has all along been adamant that the price collusion allegations have clearly lacked merit and are entirely unsubstantiated,” the company said.