Big box retailer Target has already won accolades from greens for being out front in stocking sustainable fashion and phasing out toxic PVC plastics from products. Now, the Minnesota-based company has announced that it has eliminated all farmed salmon from its fresh, frozen and smoked seafood offerings in its stores nationwide.
This announcement includes Target-owned brands -- Archer Farms and Market Pantry -- as well as national brands. According to a press release, all salmon sold under Target-owned brands will now be wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Sushi featuring farm-raised salmon will be wild-caught salmon by the end of 2010. "In consultation with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Target is taking this important step to ensure that its salmon offerings are sourced in a sustainable way that helps to preserve abundance, species health and doesn't harm local habitats," according to the release.
When we heard this news here at TDG, our response was, "Target sells sushi?" Even though I grew up in the Midwest and shopped at Targets many times, I didn't recall seeing fish for sale there; those stores that did stock food items seemed to mostly hawk packaged and canned goods like sodas, chips, cookies and canned soup. But clearly many people do get groceries at Targets these days. In fact, when we asked a PR rep about this she replied, "The majority of stores (about 1,500) carry at least the Market Pantry Frozen Keta Salmon Fillets, an item that includes wild-caught salmon." So this could have a sizable impact.
Why is this important? Many salmon farms have earned criticism for damaging fragile coastal areas, polluting waterways with waste and antibiotics and spreading parasites to native fish. Penned salmon also frequently escape, where they breed with wild populations and dilute their genes. The fish meal fed to farmed salmon has been shown to be contaminated with toxic chemicals like PCBs, which can lead to unsafe levels in the meat, and producing the feed can result in overfishing. Wild salmon is leaner and has more nutrients like heart-healthy Omega 3s, plus it does not have to be artificially dyed, since unlike farmed salmon the flesh naturally attains that attractive pink color.
Wild-caught Alaska salmon is largely considered a sustainable fishery, and helps support small coastal communities. The fish is considered a "Best Choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council.
Just please don't call it "Tarjay."
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