Target discontinues the sale of farmed salmon

Feature story - January 26, 2010
Target has announced that all their stores will stop selling farmed salmon products. This move towards greater ocean conservation is a first by a major seafood retailer. Salmon consumption in the United States is a huge market for retailers. Salmon is second only to shrimp in seafood purchases in the United States. This announcement is sure to have a ripple affect across the entire seafood industry and will improve the health of oceans throughout the world.

Target farmed salmon

Target will replace farmed salmon with wild Alaskan salmon, a relatively healthy and sustainable product. This transition affects all sections of the store - frozen, fresh, smoked, and shelf-stable farmed salmon products have all been replaced by more environmentally sound alternatives.  Greenpeace applauds Target's decision to address ocean conservation and provide leadership to other seafood retailers who want to follow in their footsteps.

No Thanks to Farmed Salmon

Target announced that the reason they are discontinuing the sale of farmed salmon is because of the significant environmental degradation it causes. Aquaculture (farming fish) is often called the future of the seafood industry, but some types of aquaculture - such as conventional open-net salmon farming - can cause tremendous damage to the environment. Parasite infestations, concentrated fish waste, the uncontrolled spread of genetic material, and the unsustainable use of wild fish to feed farmed animals all pose significant threats to the sanctity of our marine ecosystems.

While some types of aquaculture, such as closed-containment systems and many bivalve farms, are relatively environmentally responsible sources of protein, many fish in conventional, open-containment aquafarms suffer from parasitic infections, diseases, and debilitating injuries. Conditions on some of these farms are so horrendous that a large percentage of the fish die before farmers can kill and package them for food.

Carting Away the Oceans

Target is one of 20 seafood retailers profiled in Greenpeace's sustainable seafood guide - Carting Away the Oceans. The report is updated several times of year based on an analysis of sustainable seafood policies and practices among major retailers. In the most recent edition of the ranking guide, Target had moved up in the rankings to 4th place.  Read the report

Targeting Trader Joe's

Greenpeace is pleased that Target has set the bar high for ocean conservation. It's now abundantly clear that sustainable seafood policies are achievable. All seafood retailers must stop making excuses and start implementing new sustainable seafood policies.  Target has proven that it's possible and it's economical, so why have companies like Trader Joe's continued to sidestep doing the right thing?

Trader Joe's came in 17th out of the 20 stores evaluated in Greenpeace's analysis of seafood sustainability policies at major supermarket chains. That is the worst ranking of any national store. Trader Joe's has been feeling the heat from Greenpeace's mock website (, relentless phone calls from supporters, thoughtful karaoke songs from shoppers and in-store demonstrations and questions to store managers from activists across the country.

The pressure is working. Trader Joe's is hearing our message and realizing that ocean conservation is important to all of us. But, instead of responding with truth and honesty when confronted, Trader Joe's has continued to stonewall their customers and refuses to publish a comprehensive sustainable seafood policy.

You can help nudge Trader Joe's in the right direction by taking action. Ocean conservation is important to all of us. Take action today. Tell Trader Joe's to stop stalling and to finally adopt sustainable seafood policies.

Sustainable Seafood is the way of the future

To help ensure the long-term sustainability of fisheries and marine ecosystems, Greenpeace advocates the creation of a worldwide network of marine reserves and fisheries management based on a precautionary, ecosystem-based approach. Today, supermarkets can help the oceans and meet consumer demand for sustainable products by refusing to sell seafood from fisheries that:

  • exploit endangered, vulnerable and/or protected species, or species with poor stock status;
  • cause habitat destruction and/or lead to ecosystem alterations;
  • cause negative impacts on other, non-target species;
  • are unregulated, unreported, illegal or managed poorly, and
  • cause negative impacts on local, fishing dependent communities.

Take action

Greenpeace applauds Target. They’re leading the way on ocean conservation. Encourage Trader Joe's to follow in their footsteps.