New York salmon RAS LocalCoho gets major investment from Cuna del Mar

Published on
September 27, 2023
The indoor portion of LocalCoho's salmon recirculating aquaculture system in New York.

Auburn, New York, U.S.A.-based LocalCoho has received a new investment from Cuna del Mar, an investment company working to support innovative aquaculture methods.

LocalCoho said the  “multi-million-dollar” investment will be used to help the company expand its pilot facility in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The company is currently working in a 43,000-square-foot recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Auburn, New York, and has been eyeing a scale-up of its land-based salmon RAS.

“Cuna del Mar is a pioneer in supporting aquaculture companies helping to preserve the health of our oceans by using innovative approaches to growing fish. Their investment provides capital to advance our vision allowing us to get one step closer to expansion,” LocalCoho CEO Michael Fabbro said.  “That such an industry leader vetted us thoroughly and believes in our strategy and team truly validates what we are doing.”

Cuna del Mar, backed by investments from the Walton family – the founders of Walmart – has developed a portfolio of aquaculture companies including Earth Ocean Farms, OpenBlue, Innovasea, Sol Azul, The Center for Aquaculture Technologies, and Blue Ocean mariculture. The investment company's declared mission is to "explore, support, and develop open ocean aquaculture methods" with a focus on environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture.

The nod from Cuna del Mar adds to the growing list of prominent investors that have signaled support for LocalCoho. In 2022, Peter Pan Owner Rodger May and Per Heggelund, the former owner and operator of a land-based coho farm, both invested in the company. Their investments followed up an earlier round of USD 4.6 million (EUR 4.4 million) in funding in 2020 from notable investors like Jim Murphy – president of indoor agriculture firm Grow Forward – and Bob Tobin, the former CEO of Ahold USA.

The company added that it also received a USD 500,000 (EUR 476,000) grant from New York State Development in 2022 to help it commercialize its salmon RAS.

LocalCoho, Cuna del Mar Managing Director Robert Orr said, impressed the fund with its “business plan, management team, and their approach to building a supply of a great tasting fish close to the market.”

“The intent of our investment is to enable them to properly prepare for full scale-up and commercialization,” Orr said.

LocalCoho added that it is seeking to raise an additional USD 4 million (EUR 3.8 million) by the end of 2023 to fund the next phase of its growth.  

Photo courtesy of LocalCoho

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