One of the top reasons why people spend money to cruise in Alaska is a chance to experience one of the last unspoiled fronteirs in America. This is a land of clean air, clear water, bountiful fish, and exotic animals like orcas and bears. As cruising continues to become even more popular it is that much more important to help protect the environment and do what we can to make sure that future generations can experience the wonder that we enjoy today. That's why I'm so excited to see moves like this one from Holland America Line to introduce a commitment to sourcing fresh, certified sustainable Alaska seafood on it's ships during Alaska cruises.
Holland America Line has been awarded Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification — making it the first and only cruise line to achieve this distinguished credential by serving only fresh, certified sustainable and traceable wild Alaska seafood. RFM certified all six of the cruise line's ships that sail to Alaska following an independent audit.
"Holland America Line has shared Alaska adventures with our guests for 75 years, and supporting sustainable fishing and local business is an important commitment for us," said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. "We've pledged to buy and serve only local, sustainable, fresh seafood on Alaska voyages, and RFM certification is a crucial step in the commitment to sustainability that we share with our guests and fishing families of Alaska."
RFM is a third-party certification program for wild-capture fisheries and is aligned with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the most comprehensive set of international standards and best practices for wild fisheries. The RFM ecolabel includes the seafood product's origin and tells consumers where their food comes from every step of the way — starting with the Alaska fishers and processors and continuing to the cruise line's receipt of product and to the guest's plate.
Usage of the RFM logo signifies solid commitment to a distinctive Chain of Custody program that assures buyers and guests their seafood is legally harvested, obtained from responsibly managed certified sustainable fisheries, and can be traced back to its origin.
"We applaud Holland America Line for its long-standing commitment to sustainable seafood and its hard work to become the first cruise line to offer RFM certified Alaska seafood," said Tomi Marsh, Alaska seafood harvester and CSC RFM board member. "Alaska fisheries are highly valued as an integral part of the culture of coastal communities. Thus, fisheries are carefully managed, including input by locals, with a priority for sustainability in a constantly changing ocean in order to ensure that these fisheries are available for the next generation. Holland America Line's support for RFM not only highlights its dedication to sustainability, but also its dedication to promoting local values."
The RFM certification announcement comes on the heels of Holland America Line's newly formed partnership with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), both sharing a commitment to serving sustainably sourced Alaska seafood. Holland America Line continues to encourage stewardship of the environment and operates in partnership with the people and organizations in the areas that it visits.
Serving Alaska seafood on Holland America Line ships has long been part of the brand's immersive culinary experiences. On any Alaska cruise, the line serves more than 2,000 pounds of Alaska Salmon, 1,000 pounds of Alaska cod, 800 pounds of Alaska halibut, 500 pounds of Alaska rockfish and more.
Additionally, Holland America Line has rolled out several newly created seafood dishes that are featured in the Dining Room on all six of its ships cruising in Alaska this season, which includes Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam. The recipes were developed by Holland America Line's Culinary Council Member Chef Ethan Stowell and ASMI. Guests can indulge in 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. This is in addition to several Alaska seafood dishes that are already on menus throughout the ships.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership between the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry promoting the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offering seafood industry education. The seafood industry is Alaska's largest basic private sector employer with over 60 percent of all wild seafood and 90-95 percent of wild salmon harvested in the U.S. coming from Alaska. In addition to wild salmon, Alaska is known for its crab and whitefish varieties such as Pacific cod, sablefish, halibut, Alaska pollock, sole and rockfish – available fresh or frozen year-round. Alaska is dedicated to sustainable seafood and the only state with a constitution that mandates all seafood be managed under the sustained yield principle. Alaska has taken a leadership role in setting the global standard for precautionary resource management to protect fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations leading to an ever-replenishing supply of wild seafood for markets worldwide.
The Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification program is owned by the Certified Seafood Collaborative (CSC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation made up of a diverse board of seafood and sustainability experts. The RFM Certification program is founded on the strongest and most widely acknowledged international standards and practices. It is the most credible sustainable seafood certification program that doesn't charge logo licensing fees. RFM was the first sustainability eco-certification program to be benchmarked and recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI).