Nieuw Amsterdam ship.
Sustainability is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the cruise industry, but Holland America Line is showing their commitment to better environmental practices by becoming the first cruise line to receive a Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification. This announcement comes hot on the heels of a newly formed partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). But what does this all mean?
“In Alaska, sustainable fishing is an essential part of their economy, communities and culture,” Jeff Regnart, RFM program manager, said. “The well-being of many communities in Alaska depends on healthy wild fish stocks. That’s why Alaska’s fishermen practice science-based resource management that ensures long-term sustainability of the fisheries that support them.”
By only serving RFM-certified sustainable Alaskan seafood on board, Holland America Line is solidifying their support of sustainable fishing in Alaska, safeguarding marine ecosystems and supporting the local hardworking fishermen and the more than 60,000 Alaskans who depend on Alaska’s fisheries for their livelihoods. “Cruise lines can’t exist without healthy oceans, so they know that protecting the seas and the surrounding ecosystem is critical,” Regnart said.
“Sustainable seafood is among the most environmentally efficient sources of protein in the world,” Michael Smith, senior vice president of guest experiences and product development at Holland America Line, said. “Choosing sustainable seafood is important because it recognizes and rewards sustainable fishing practices. This in turn supports livelihoods, communities, food security and healthy oceans packed with life. With this announcement, we are hoping to play a role in helping to ensure healthy and resilient ocean ecosystems.”
Hot smoked salmon dish.
“Sustainable seafood certification provides the highest level of assurance that the seafood product is verified to be sustainable and responsible, is harvested legally and is traceable back to its source,” Regnart said. “Certification offers an objective and neutral assessment of whether a wild-capture fishery or aquaculture farm meets a certification standard.” In Alaska, RFM is a voluntary, internationally accredited assessment that determines whether or not a fishery meets the criteria for responsible fisheries management. Regnart notes that RFM Fisheries Standard is founded on the strongest and most widely acknowledged international standards and practices, including United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) criteria.
To achieve this certification, Holland America Line’s corporate office and their vessels underwent an audit by a third-party accredited certification body. The auditors verified the cruise line’s compliance to the RFM Fisheries Standard, which includes criteria for tracking, segregation and traceability of seafood throughout the processing, distribution and marketing chain, plus proper documentation and control. “In order to maintain certification, they will be subject to periodic surveillance audits over the three-year period of their chain of custody certificate,” Regnart said.
For Holland America Line, this certification is well worth the hurdles. “As a brand that has shared the thrill of Alaska with our guests for 75 years—longer than any other cruise line—we take tremendous pride in having gone through the rigorous process to achieve the RFM certification,” Smith said. “Moving forward, we are serving only fresh, certified sustainable and traceable wild Alaska seafood and are proud to become the first cruise line ever to earn this RFM accreditation.”
Culinary Council Member chef Ethan Stowell holding a plate of Alaskan salmon chop.
Each of the cruise line’s six Alaska ships (Westerdam, Zuiderdam, Noordam, Eurodam, Koningsdam and Nieuw Amsterdam) purchases and serves more than 5,000 pounds of locally sourced Alaska seafood per cruise. This includes 2,000 pounds of Alaskan salmon, 1,000 pounds of Alaskan cod, 800 pounds of Alaskan halibut, 500 pounds of Alaskan rockfish, 400 pounds of Alaskan flounder, 400 pounds of Alaskan pollock and 200 pounds of Alaskan black cod.
Guests cruising on an Alaska-bound Holland America Line ship will get to enjoy some new seafood dishes developed by Culinary Council Member chef Ethan Stowell and ASMI. These include a fried Alaska cod sandwich with malt vinegar aioli and Savoy cabbage slaw; Alaskan salmon chop with cucumber, tomato, avocado, bacon and green beans; and roasted fennel crusted Alaska halibut with artichokes and Taggiasca olives.
The salmon bake dinner is a signature event on Holland America Line Alaskan voyages. The salmon-heavy menu includes broiled salmon with maple glaze, salmon chowder, baked salmon in puff pastry with lemon butter sauce and clams and mussel jambalaya. Some non-salmon dishes on the menu are Campfire Ale pork stew, braised beef with wild mushrooms, warm apple pie with vanilla sauce and wild berry cobbler.
“When it comes to the seafood that we serve onboard, our mission is to provide guests with the finest quality because they deserve nothing but the best,” Smith said. “By serving locally sourced wild Alaska seafood, we are able to deliver top-notch flavor that is naturally rich in healthy nutrients. ”
Nieuw Amsterdam ship.