First Global Seafood Certification Awarded to Holland America

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Holland America Line has become the first global cruise line to achieve both Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certifications. Both mark the cruise line’s success in sourcing seafood in sustainable and responsible ways.

Esteemed Certifications Elevate Dining

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) have awarded certifications to Holland America Line, recognizing the cruise line’s commitment to environmental stewardship. The certifications, recognized worldwide as the highest standards for sustainable seafood, mark Holland America Line as the first cruise ship to receive the accolades.

All 11 ships in Holland America Line’s fleet will be Chain of Custody certified, allowing them to serve MSC- and ASC-certified and labeled seafood.

Gua Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, said of the certifications, “Our guests care about the quality and sustainability of the fresh fish we serve, and so do we. These certifications build on our commitment of bringing regionally inspired fresh seafood dishes from port to plate in 48 hours.”

He continued to add that he was proud to partner with the two organizations that “share our dedication to protecting the vitality of the oceans we sail.”

The certifications are part of Holland America Line’s Global Fresh Fish Program, which aims to provide guests with high-quality seafood sourced sustainably when wild-caught and raised responsibly when farmed.

Holland America Line ms Noordam
Holland America Line ms Noordam (Photo Credit: Ken Schulze)

The rollout of MSC and ASC labeling will begin with five ships at the start of the Europe and Canada/New England season in May 2024. Onboard dining experiences will be enhanced across Holland America Line’s fleet, with certified seafood from nine regions worldwide incorporated into menu offerings.

The rollout includes ms Volendam, which begins its Canada and New England routes on May 4 in Montreal; ms Nieuw Statendam, which launches into a Baltic journey from Rotterdam on May 5; ms Zuiderdam, also starting a Baltic exploration in May from Imjmuiden, Holland; and ms Oosterdam, which will sail in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas from Piraeus (Athens) in May.

Sustainable Seafood Practices

Passengers on Holland American Line ships will find a diverse array of certified seafood dishes, marked with specific logos indicating the type of certification, in the Main Dining Room, Lido Market, and onboard specialty restaurants.

The certifications build on the cruise line’s existing Global Fresh Fish Program, which sources and serves fresh fish from 60 ports worldwide to all restaurants onboard. The program guarantees from “port to plate” in less than 48 hours.

Not all seafood will be certified, however. Menus will indicate the type of certification with a symbol next to the dish. Holland America’s ships in Alaska, including ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Koningsdam, ms Noordam, and ms Zaandam, serve 100% sustainable seafood under its Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification. The cruise line’s goal is to receive 100% accreditation of species that are eligible to meet MSC and ASC standards.

Chef Morimoto, Holland America's Fresh Fish Ambassador of 2023
Chef Morimoto, Holland America’s Fresh Fish Ambassador of 2023 (Photo Credit: Holland America Line)

While the MSC focuses on sustainable wild-caught seafood, the ASC works with responsibly farmed seafood. Both aim to minimize environmental impacts and utilize Chain of Custody Standards designed for all companies in the supply chain that handle MSC- and ASC-certified seafood. 

Read Also: The Best Time to Cruise Alaska – Months to Choose

Said Erika Feller, Americas Director, Marine Stewardship Council, “As the first global cruise line to successfully complete the Marine Stewardship Council’s rigorous Chain of Custody audit, Holland America Line is extending our important work around sustainable, ocean-friendly fishing to a new category.”

Key requirements for certification from both entities include traceability of fish throughout every moment it appears in the supply change, keeping fish separate from non-certified products to prevent mixing and contamination, proper labeling, and keeping detailed records of fish, including purchase and sales invoices. Companies must also undergo regular audits by an independent, third-party auditor to obtain and maintain certification.

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