Norwegian Fisheries Pay $85 Million to End Salmon Antitrust Case

Posted on September 09, 2022
Peter Prieto
Peter Prieto

Sept. 9, 2022,

  • Accused of fixing salmon market by rigging daily ‘spot price’
  • Settlement resolves class action on behalf of purchasers

Leading Norwegian fisheries are free of antitrust litigation over their alleged scheme to fix the price of farm-raised Atlantic salmon, after a federal judge in Miami approved their $85 million settlement with salmon processors and other direct purchasers.

Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga signed off Thursday on the agreement, which resolves class action claims the fisheries faced in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She also handed $25.5 million in legal fees and $2.6 million in expense reimbursement to counsel for the salmon buyers.

The companies involved in the settlement include affiliates of Mowi ASA, Grieg ASA, SalMar ASA, Lerøy Seafood Group ASA, Cermaq Group AS, and Ocean Quality AS. The fisheries have repeatedly denied wrongdoing, describing the decision to settle as a practical one based on litigation costs.

Peter Prieto of Podhurst Orseck PA and Chris Lebsock of Hausfeld LLP, co-lead counsel for the purchasers, said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg Law late Thursday that they were “very pleased” by Altonaga’s decision to approve the deal.

“Markets can neither prosper nor properly function if those with the power to do so can conspire or collude to fix prices,” they said. “Those US consumers who enjoy salmon, and consumers generally, are today better off because of the court’s approval of this settlement.”

The lawsuit, filed in 2019, accused the fisheries of rigging the global salmon market by manipulating a Nasdaq benchmark index pegged to the fish’s daily “spot” price in Oslo.

The case—which echoed an investigation by European antitrust enforcers and a Justice Department probe—is part of a wave of cartel litigation involving agriculture, livestock, and protein, including the tuna, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, dairy, and egg industries.

Altonaga’s decision on the settlement came 18 months after she let the suit move forward in March 2021, citing parallel pricing, suspicious transactions between the fisheries and their subsidiaries, meetings among their executives, law enforcement investigations, and other circumstantial evidence.

The judge acknowledged at the time that the fisheries had offered potentially “legitimate reasons” for the spot market transactions at the heart of the case. But those defenses were for a later stage of the litigation, she found.

Mowi is represented by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Leroy is represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. Grieg is represented by Gelber Schachter & Greenberg PA and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP.

SalMar is represented by Homer Bonner Jacobs Ortiz PA and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP. Cermaq is represented by Mayer Brown LLP. Ocean Quality is represented by León Cosgrove LLP and Robins Kaplan LLP.

The case is In re Farm-Raised Salmon & Salmon Prods. Antitrust Litig., S.D. Fla., No. 19-cv-21551, 9/8/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Leonard in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Rob Tricchinelli at;

Patrick L. Gregory at