'Snow crab' dispute settled with losses for Latvian business

The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has decided, after a three-year trial, to reject the claim of SIA “North Star LTD” and owner Pēteris Pildegovičs to recognize the damage caused by Norway to the company in snow crab fishing, according to information published by ICSID on February 8.

Pildegovičs and North Star LTD filed a claim with ICSID in March 2020 after Norwegian authorities arrested North Star LTD fishing vessel Senator, which was fishing for snow crabs in Svalbard waters under pre-existing agreements.

The applicant stated that Norway had violated the bilateral investment agreement between Latvia and Norway by its action and requested EUR 388 million in losses from Norway.

The dispute settlement center has decided to dismiss the claims of Pildegovičs and North Star LTD in their entirety.

ICSID has also decided that the applicant should bear the full costs of the defendant or the Norwegian arbitration tribunal. In total, North Star LTD has to bear the Norwegian arbitration costs of $597,307.04, as well as compensate Norway for the costs associated with the representation of $809,724.07.

As previously reported by LSM, in January 2017 a Latvian snow-crab ship was arrested in Norwegian waters off the Arctic island of Svalbard. Latvia claimed that Norway illegally restricted fishing opportunities for European Union (EU) member states and violated international treaties, and took the case to EU Court, eventually losing. The Norwegian Supreme Court in 2019 banned the ship from crabbing in Svalbard waters. In March 2023 the Norwegian Supreme Court confirmed that other countries have no right to fish for crabs in the specific area of Svalbard.

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