Seafood Exec. Pleads Guilty for Forming Tuna Cartel

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Dec 8, 2016
By ​English Wikipedia user Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0

A lead executive at Bumblebee Tuna pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy with other seafood packaging companies to fix, raise and maintain prices of packaged seafood in the U.S., according to CNN Money.

The fishy practices took place between 2011 and 2013 and involved another as-of-yet-unnamed company, referred to only as Company A, as an indicted co-conspirator. CNN said that the senior vice president of sales, Walter Scott Cameron, met with representative of other major packed seafood companies to basically form a cartel, an association formed between companies for the main purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition. He has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of money and to cooperate on further investigation into the matter. 

While the identity of this unnamed co-conspirator is currently unknown, it may be worth noting that just days before Bumblebee Tuna and Chicken of the Sea scuttled a planned merger after the Justice Department expressed concerns about the market impact. 

“Consumers are better off without this deal,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the department’s Antitrust Division.  “Our investigation convinced us – and the parties knew or should have known from the get go – that the market is not functioning competitively today, and further consolidation would only make things worse.”

The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the canned tuna market is dominated by three companies: the aforementioned Chicken of the Sea and Bumblebee, as well as Starkist. 

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