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Maine salmon producer denies allegations it misled consumers

EDWARD D. MURPHY Jan 11, 2021

A Maine smoked salmon producer accused of falsely claiming its products are sustainably produced is firing back at its accusers, saying it has earned accolades for its sustainable practices.

The parent company of Ducktrap River of Maine is denying allegations made in a recent lawsuit that its salmon is not sustainably sourced.

A New York resident named Abigail Starr last week filed suit in federal court in Maine against Belfast-based Ducktrap River of Maine and its parent company over labeling on the Maine company’s smoked salmon that says the fish is “sustainably sourced.” The lawsuit alleges the salmon comes from offshore fish farms, and that the claims of sustainability are false and misleading.

Ducktrap River is owned by Mowi ASA, a Norwegian company, and operates under a Mowi subsidiary based in the U.S. Ducktrap River did not initially respond to the suit, but Wednesday, Jan. 6, Mowi issued a statement denying the allegations.

“All Mowi farm-raised Atlantic salmon products in the U.S. are certified as sustainably and responsibly sourced by independent third parties,” the statement said. “Following a rigorous certification process, Mowi has been recognized to abide by industry best practices for sustainable aquaculture.”

The statement cites a handful of organizations recognizing the company’s fish as sourced sustainably and said the company is committed to “unlocking the potential of the ocean to produce healthy and sustainable food.”

“This includes offering more food from the ocean, which can provide abundant climate-friendly proteins for a growing population,” the statement said. “Mowi’s marketing does not deceive clients or consumers. We look forward to vigorously defending this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages being sought, but the lawyers who filed it are seeking class-action status, which would allow the suit to be filed on behalf of hundreds or thousands of people.

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