The European Commission’s competition department made unannounced visits to Grieg Seafood Shetland, Scottish Sea Farms and Mowi Scotland, in order to “explore potential anti-competitive behaviour in the salmon industry”.
An EC statement said: “The European Commission can confirm that on 19 February 2019 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of several companies in the sector of farmed Atlantic salmon.
“The Commission has concerns that the inspected companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.”
However, the statement continued: “Unannounced inspections are a preliminary investigatory step into suspected anti-competitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.
Grieg Seafood issued a statement saying that it “aims to be open, transparent and forthcoming and will provide all necessary information requested by the European Commission DG Competition in its investigation”.
Meanwhile SalMar, which owns 50 percent of Scottish Sea Farms, issued a statement saying it is “in constructive dialogue with the Commission” over the matter.