The largest whitefish auction in Europe has come to a halt with a boycott by processors.
A row has been brewing for a while over attempts by the Peterhead Port Authority to end the practice of bid sharing, in which buyers club together to bid for lots.
The authority has stated that it has taken legal advice, which concluded that the widespread practice of bid sharing is ‘anti-competitive and contrary to applicable competition law.’
Peterhead Port Authority chief executive Simon Brebner wrote in December to the auction’s customers, outlining the concerns and the intention to eliminate bid sharing in an effort to make the auction properly competitive.
‘The measures, which have the support of the fish selling agents, are intended to ensure therefore that in the interests of all stakeholders the sales process at the fish market is conducted in a compliant manner,’ he stated in his letter to buyers – which led to a number of processors taking the decision to voice their frustration by boycotting the auction.
It is expected to be operating normally later this week.