Plaintiff State’s investigation revealed that just prior to the 1995 crab fishing season, commercial crab fishermen attempted to arrive at a group consensus on an initial selling price for the crab they caught and sold to processors. There was a significant difference between the price the fishermen wanted and the price offered to them by the processors. The fishermen agreed among themselves to refuse to fish for crab until all crab fishermen in California, Oregon and Washington received an initial offering price of $1.25 per pound. The action (or inaction) is known in the industry as a “tie-up” or “strike”. The agreement was arrived at during port-wide fishermen meetings involving most of the crab fishermen up and down the coast. These discussions and results of these meetings were communicated to fishermen in other California, Oregon and Washington ports.
Some fishermen admitted that they had reached an agreement on a single minimum price and that they would all refuse to fish until the price was achieved. Some admitted under oath that they were aware of the antitrust laws and knew that the subject of these meetings and the resulting price agreement violated the antitrust laws.