By Kiera Morgan
A lawsuit has been filed against Pacific Seafood and Trident Seafood Corporation for allegedly violating federal anti-trust laws. The suit was filed by Portland attorney Mike Haglund on behalf of Innovation Marine and Front Street Marine. The suit comes after the acquisition earlier this month of the former Trident facility by Pacific Seafoods.
Trident announced in April that it would cease operations at the plant after years of financial losses. Pacific Seafood agreed to acquire, retrofit, and operate the facility in time for the 2017 season, but only if fishermen, the community, and the Oregon Department of Justice agreed. As a preventative measure before purchasing the plant they checked with the Attorney General to make sure there would be no repercussions as a result of buying the plant.
The suit alleges that Pacific Seafoods conspired with two competitors to thwart the entry of new competitors to the seafood processing industry. The suit states that California Shellfish Company ignored a $1.8 million dollar offer from the plaintiffs and instead sold the Newport waterfront property to a company fronting for Pacific Seafoods.
They allege that Trident also refused to Innovation Marine to sell the fish processing plant. Trident also sold it’s fishmeal plant to Pacific Seafood. The suit claims that as a result of these purchases Pacific Seafoods is aligning itself to control the market share and can pay fishermen lower prices for groundfish, whiting and shrimp. Front Street Marine is owned by Stephen and Janet and Webster of Newport.