US: Court drops antitrust lawsuit against Pacific Seafood

An Oregon judge has dismissed a fishermen’s lawsuit linked to Pacific Seafood Group’s once-planned acquisition of processor Ocean Gold Seafoods in Westport, Washington, the latest victory over a series of allegations that the group had engaged in anti-competitive behavior.

In a May 15 ruling, Oregon District Court judge Michael McShane granted Oregon-based Pacific Seafood summary judgment ordering the dismissal of a lawsuit brought in 2015 by pink shrimp fisherman Jeff Boardman and several others. The lawsuit had asked the judge to block Pacific’s planned acquisition of the rest of the stake in Ocean Gold that it did not already own, asserting that the fishermen would be harmed by what they said would be Pacific Seafoods’ monopolization of the trawl-caught groundfish, Pacific onshore whiting and Pacific coldwater shrimp markets.

McShane tossed the Boardman litigation on largely procedural grounds: That the fishermen lacked legal standing to file the lawsuit because they don’t participate in the markets at issue.

“There is no evidence to support that they participate in the Westport market. More than 800 individual fishing vessels deliver seafood to Pacific Seafood at its facilities along the West Coast, but none of those fishing vessels or their owners are plaintiffs here,” the judge wrote. “None of the fishing vessels or owners that deliver to Westport have joined this action.”

Full Content: IntraFish

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