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Pacific Seafood faces another anti-trust lawsuit

Dan Occhipinti, Pacific Seafood general counsel. (Photo Credit: Pacific Seafood)

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Friday, January 23, 2015, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Pacific Seafood is facing a new lawsuit filed by a group of fishermen in Oregon, just as the company was preparing to sign an agreement to buy 90 per cent stake in Ocean Gold Seafoods Inc.
Fishermen claimed the company has violated the terms of an earlier agreement in a class-action anti-trust lawsuit, that took place in 2012.
Under the settlement, Pacific Seafood agreed not to renew an ongoing marketing arrangement it had with Ocean Gold, the largest processors of whiting on the Northwest coast of the US.
The group of fishermen are now filing a new lawsuit as they became aware that Pacific Seafood was negotiating again with Ocean Gold.
Meanwhile, Dan Occhipinti, Pacific Seafood general counsel said, “We expect this complaint will be dismissed in short order," The Oregonian informed.
The plaintiffs in the earlier lawsuit, Todd and Lloyd Whaley claimed the processor uses its large market power to reduce the price it pays for groundfish, Dungeness crab, shrimp, and whiting to Oregon fishermen.
The settlement reached in 2012 provided that:
  • A contract between Pacific Seafood and Ocean Gold would not be renewed in 2016 in order to possibly create a new fish-processing competitor.
  • Pacific Seafood and Ocean Gold would report prices in a more transparent fashion, if other processors agree to do the same.
At that moment, the fishermen dropped a USD 520 million claim for damages in exchange for a series of measures aimed at ensuring competitiveness and transparency.
Pacific Seafood’s sales are close to USD 1 billion.
The company has acquired 18 seafood-processing plants in Northern California, Oregon and Washington and it is the only buyer of seafood in seven cities on the coast. In addition, it and has already ventured into the Alaska market.
Pacific Seafood has its own fishing fleet composed of 13 vessels active in the West Coast market as well as seafood harvest permits, and gives work to more than 2,500 people in 35 locations.

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