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Target Pledges All-Sustainable Seafood by 2015

Target has announced that it will sell only sustainable and traceable seafood in its stores by 2015, through a partnership with non-profit FishWise.

The retail chain defines sustainable and traceable seafood as the sourcing of seafood products that are caught or raised in an environmentally sensitive manner and maintain the company’s business needs without jeopardizing the affected ecosystems.

Target said the commitment will apply to all of its fresh and frozen seafood products.

The announcement did not include any mention of specific seafood certification schemes, such as the Marine Stewardship Council or the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).

But Target said that over the next few years it will continue sourcing seafood products from third-party certified fisheries and farms, and will encourage source fisheries and farms to enter into improvement projects that result in “credible certification and verifiable change”.

And it says it will engage with government agencies, NGOs, industry groups and certification bodies to trace seafood from the supply chain to its source.

Target says it has been transitioning seafood to more sustainable products over the past two years, eliminating Chilean sea bass and orange roughy from all stores. It eliminated farmed salmon in favor of wild-caught salmon last year

In April Target and Wegmans tied for second place on Greenpeace’s Supermarket Seafood Sustainability Scorecard. Safeway was first.

Also in April, Kroger said it will remove shark, marlin and bluefin tuna from its cases, and will aim to use certified sources for its top 20 wild-caught seafood items by 2015, after reaching an agreement with the World Wildlife Fund.

And in February Sodexo announced a goal for all its contracted seafood to be certified by MSC or BAP by 2015. Under the plan, Sodexo will review all wild caught and farm-raised seafood purchases and set short, medium and long-term goals with its contracted seafood vendors.

In the same week Costco agreed to remove over a dozen seafood items from sale until it could find an MSC-certified option. The retailer placed a hold on selling Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, bluefin tuna, Chilean sea bass, Greenland halibut, grouper, monkfish, orange roughy, redfish, shark, swordfish, skates and rays.

Earlier this week John West, a leading brand of canned tuna and salmon in the U.K., launched an online tracker so customers could identify the origin of their fish.

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