We are all facing ruin'
With the start of the Bristol Bay Salmon canning season only three weeks away, canners have been hit with the news that the longstanding lawsuit between fishermen and processors is far from settled.
The class action taken out four years ago by fishermen alleging price fixing by processors was thought to have been finished when a judge found in favour of the packers.
But an appeal has been overturned on the grounds that the decision taken by one Judge was undemocratic and the case has to be heard by a panel.
When the allegations were first made, fishermen accused processors and their overseas customers of fixing prices against the free market trends.
Millions of dollars were at stake, which led some companies, including Japanese traders, to settle out of court, thus getting their names taken out of the action.
If the original judge's decision is reversed and companies have to pay heavy fines, it could in theory be the end of the Alaskan salmon canning business.
A source in Seattle told the Grocer: "The fishermen just don't seem to understand, we are all facing ruin if fines are imposed. There will be no winners, only losers."
It doesn't seem likely the change of events will influence this year's packing programme but canners will have to spend money on lawyers at a time when every cent counts.
In the UK, importers were taken by surprise, one commenting: "We've been threatened by a return of El Ni񯠡nd now legal battles.
"At least there is never a dull moment in the salmon industry!"