updated 1/26/2010 11:47:24 AM ET 2010-01-26T16:47:24

Target Corp., the nation's second-largest discounter after Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said Tuesday that it pulled all farmed salmon from its stores as it looks to be more environmentally conscious.

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The retailer said it will no longer carry farmed salmon in its fresh, frozen or smoked seafood sections. The move impacts national brands and the chain's own Archer Farms and Market Pantry brands, which will now use wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

Target said sushi carried in its stores that currently use farm-raised salmon will switch to wild-caught salmon by year's end.

"Target strives to be a responsible steward of the environment, while also providing our guests with the highest-quality food choices," Greg Duppler, senior vice president of merchandising, said in a statement.

Companies have increasingly shifted away from farmed salmon due to pressure by consumers and environmentalists, who want wild-caught salmon used because it can help preserve salmon levels as well as species health and doesn't hurt local habitats.

Salmon farms are viewed by these parties as hazardous due to the pollutants and chemicals they can emit as well as the potential dangers of farmed fish escaping and intruding on native salmon.

Target's salmon transition comes in the midst of its $1 billion store renovation project. The company, based in Minneapolis, will introduce a new store format starting in April that features spruced up home furnishing offerings, larger grocery sections, better video game displays and shelf lighting in the beauty section. The move, which impacts 340 U.S. stores, is aimed at increasing sales and profit and grabbing market share from rivals.

The retailer has 1,744 stores in 49 states.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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