Salmon start-up LocalCoho names Michael Fabbro as new CEO

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LocalCoho, a New York start-up producing Coho salmon using land-based Recirculated Aquaculture Systems (RAS) technology, has appointed Michael Fabbro as CEO.

The new CEO succeeds Phil Gibson, who has been CEO since 2020 and will continue to serve on the company’s Board of Directors.

Fabbro, who will also serve on LocalCoho’s Board, joins the seafood venture from New Zealand King Salmon Co., where he led the company’s North American business. He was previously Director of Sales and Marketing for California-based Fra’ Mani.

LocalCoho was founded in 2017 and had its first salmon harvest at its pilot facility in 2019. Backed by private funding, the company started selling a small volume of its salmon to the wholesale market this year.  Last month, the company was awarded a $500,000 grant from New York State Development toward commercialization of its facilities.

The company has a maximum production capacity of 300 tonnes per year and is currently selling a few hundred pounds per week, as it is still in the early stages of the startup.

“It is very exciting to be at the beginning stages of salmon aquaculture in this country,” Fabbro said, adding that he looks “forward to working with our talented and passionate team to advance LocalCoho’s mission to build a local seafood company that provides sustainably-raised, premium salmon to American consumers.”

“We are fortunate to bring someone with Michael’s skills, vision, and operational expertise to lead LocalCoho at a pivotal time in our business. We look forward to benefiting from his insights and leadership as we continue to evolve and execute our strategies,” Robert Tobin, chairman of the board of LocalCoho, said.

Some 75 percent of salmon consumed in the U.S. is imported, with high costs for shipping and supply chain management, according to Fabbro. “We can supply the local market quickly and efficiently. Local production is great for speed to market and for minimizing our carbon footprint,” the new CEO claimed.