Holland America Launches Sustainable Seafood Program

In honor of Earth Day, Holland America Line has announced the roll out of its new sustainable seafood program which adopts environmentally responsible purchasing practices and features menus that showcase sustainable seafood.

Working in conjunction with the Marine Conservation Institute – a Washington State partner in promoting sustainable and compatible use of the oceans – Holland America Line’s sustainable seafood program emphasizes adopting sustainable seafood purchasing practices.

“Our sustainability program is an important element in our ongoing commitment to oceans on which we sail and to being responsible corporate citizens in every aspect of our business,” said Richard Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs at Holland America Line. “We are proud to roll out this program and know our guests will appreciate the fact that their seafood menu selections are responsibly sourced and help promote the continued availability of fish species that are essential to a biologically diverse marine environment.”

To determine the sustainability of a particular seafood item, Holland America Line and Marine Conservation Institute referred to well-established seafood ratings/rankings — from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, Blue Ocean Institute Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood, World Wildlife Fund Sustainable Seafood Guides, Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector and others. Marine Conservation Institute then applied their professional judgment to assess the sustainability of the selection.

Each seafood item is evaluated for its abundance, how well the fishery is managed and what damage is done to the surrounding marine ecosystem through catching or farming the seafood. The sustainability program places particular emphasis on maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems.

“We applaud the efforts of Holland America Line to lead the cruise industry in sustainable seafood practices,” said Dr. Elliott Norse, president and founder of Marine Conservation Institute.  “Through leading by example, they convey an important message to their guests, staff, colleagues and particularly to the suppliers that provide seafood to a large company.  What better way than through consumer purchasing behavior to stress to suppliers the need for responsible fishing practices.”

Holland America Line will begin the sustainability program with its 2011 Alaska and Europe cruises — and the company plans to extend the program worldwide across the 15-ship fleet over the next year. Menus will be reviewed prior to contracting cycles to ensure that all procured seafood meets the program criteria. New seafood options are evaluated and best-choice alternatives are used whenever possible. The line has provided sustainable seafood specifications to all of its seafood suppliers and modified its procurement process to achieve its goal of all seafood items being responsibly sourced.

New program is extension of partnership with Marine Conservation Institute

The sustainability program is an extension of “Our Marvelous Oceans,” a three-year program announced by the two partners in 2010 that includes guest and staff education and support for marine conservation biology research. Support for Marine Conservation Institute’s education program also includes annual grants made to graduate students and young scientists working in historical marine ecology.

Holland America Line’s environmental efforts have been recognized throughout the industry. The line recently was named the World’s Leading Green Cruise Line at the World Travel Awards in London, received a 2010 Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Gold Environmental Protection Award from the U.S. Coast Guard and received a Blue Circle Award from the Port of Vancouver.

Other awards include the 2010 Marine Environmental Business of the Year from the Port of Seattle and in 2009 a Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award.

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