Saudi Arabia's aquaculture ambitions advanced through Topian joint venture

The new venture inches the Middle Eastern nation closer toward its objective of skyrocketing its aquaculture output, achieving food security in the process
Saudi venture NEOM and fishing company Tabuk Fisheries create Topian
Saudi investment group NEOM and fishing company Tabuk Fisheries have formed Topian, a joint venture focused on aquaculture | Photo courtesy of NEOM
6 Min

Saudi Arabia-based fish-farming firm Tabuk Fisheries Company has collaborated with the Saudi regional development project coordinator NEOM to create a joint aquaculture venture called Topian Aquaculture, building on a memorandum of understanding for a fish hatchery signed between the two entities in 2021.

NEOM has previously invested in a number of seafood industry initiatives, including an initiative with Cargill and ARASCO to expand the country's aquafeed supply, and a USD 20 million (EUR 19 million) investment in BluNalu to help it expand and continue its commercialization of cell-based seafood.

“Topian Aquaculture reflects NEOM’s mission to implement innovative solutions that strengthen key industry sectors, while mitigating our impact on the environment,” NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said. “The strategic joint venture with Tabuk Fisheries Company highlights the role collaboration plays in NEOM’s goal of redefining business and in meeting the national objectives of Saudi Arabia.”

Soon after the creation of Topian, the new joint venture signed aquaculture development agreements with three other entities, all of which will contribute toward Saudi Arabia’s ongoing drive to increase its annual aquaculture output to 600,000 metric tons (MT) by 2030.

The three agreements were signed during the 2024 Saudi International Marine Exhibition and Conference (SIMEC), which took place 10 to 12 February in Riyadh, and focus on increasing aquaculture output through innovative research and technology, as well as the commercialization of seafood products in both local and foreign markets.

Specifically, Topian signed a partnership with the National Livestock and Fisheries Development Program (NLFDP) – an initiative of the country’s Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture – to promote fisheries research and the use of modern technology in fish farming, especially around the Red Sea, where several locations have been identified by the government as suitable for aquaculture projects.

“The agreement aims to develop collaborative procedures, establishing best practices and standards suited to the unique aquaculture ecosystem of the Red Sea,” Ali Al-Shaikhi, the CEO of NLFDP and the director general of fisheries at the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, said.

Topian also signed a deal with Pure Salmon, a land-based aquaculture specialist which relocated its headquarters to Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., in 2021, with the goal of establishing a land-based aquaculture farm in northwestern Saudi Arabia, inside of a NEOM development zone, to support salmon grow-out, processing, and pet nutrition value chains.

Previously, Pure Salmon said it viewed neighboring Saudi Arabia "as a key strategic country within its global vision as it aims to become the leading sustainable salmon producer in the region and worldwide," with that vision coming to fruition through ... 

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