After almost a decade, Target is selling farmed salmon again

Published on
August 22, 2018

U.S. mega-retailer Target has decided to resume its sale of farmed salmon, nearly a decade after it shifted to selling exclusively wild-caught Alaskan salmon. 

A year after Target made its decision to sell only wild salmon in 2010, the retailer announced that it would only sell sustainable and traceable seafood. Now, the Minneapolis-based retail giant seems to have shifted gears, claiming in a recent release that farmed salmon can be sustainable, too. Target said that the farmed salmon it has decided to sell now is certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, according to a report from the Minneapolis Business Journal.   

In a 2010 press release, Target cited the reason for its shift to only selling wild salmon: “Many salmon farms impact the environment in numerous ways - pollution, chemicals, parasites and non-native farmed fish that escape from salmon farms all affect the natural habitat and the native salmon in the surrounding areas,” the company said. 

At the time, former executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Julie Packard praised the decision, saying, “Target’s decision to source sustainable wild-caught salmon, instead of farmed, will have a real impact in the marketplace – and ultimately, on the health of our oceans. Increasing the demand for seafood from ocean-friendly sources, like this Monterey Bay Aquarium ‘Best Choice,’ charts us on a course not only to protect our oceans, but to improve fishing and fish-farming practices around the world.”

Even with its decision to sell farmed salmon again, Target still ranked fourth, on environmental advocacy group Greenpeace’s list of retailers when it comes to their sale of seafood products – the NGO is known for docking points on its list when retailers opt to sell farmed seafood. The company moved up in 2018 from its fifth place ranking last year. Austin-based, Amazon-owned Whole Foods leads the list. 

Reporting from Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

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