Ocean Harvest, founded by Robert Kupstas, who is also behind Abu Dhabi-based Pure Harvest, is targeting $180 million in Series A funding through a mix of equity and debt raise.

The company’s initial phase is to build a 100,000sq.m. salmon farm in Ras Al Khaimah, and says it has already laid the groundwork for expansion into Saudi Arabia.

Kupstas told Zawya: “We are building Ocean Harvest with scale in mind, but expansion projects will take better shape after the build-out and operation of our inaugural farm in the UAE - which will provide a credible proof point for everything that follows.

“Throughout our fundraising, however, we will focus on pre-development activities for a project in Saudi Arabia and expansion of our planned UAE facility in late 2025 or early 2026.”

Kupstas said the company had already completed ‘significant amount of legwork’, meeting with large institutional salmon buyers in the kingdom.

“We’ve also had productive exchanges with the relevant authorities and government entities and are looking forward to progressing those conversations,” he said.

Kupstas said Ocean Harvest is backed by angel investors as well as Ecosix, a joint venture between Besix and Tech Group.

COP28 will offer businesses a chance to showcase the venture to investors, governments and other entities that could support the company’s mission, he said.

Previously launched land-based salmon farm ventures in the UAE include Vikings Label and Jebel Ali-based Fish Farm.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Daniel Luiz)