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The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute announced what it calls “a first-of-its kind partnership with Holland America Line, which will certify the cruise line’s dining and galley team members for their understanding of the species, benefits and responsible fishing practices of the Alaska fishing industry.”

The agreement will provide training via ASMI’s proprietary Seafood U® educational course, a short digital course that can be taken online from anywhere including on board cruise ships. The training course “provides education on the various Alaska seafood species, health benefits, fishing methods, and overall sustainability practices of the state, which supplies more than 60 percent of our nation’s wild seafood,” according to an ASMI summary.

Seafood U® Training for Holland America Line’s culinary teams began earlier this year, in advance of the cruise line’s 2024 Alaska season. About 2,500 shipboard team members covering six ships will study under the training course.

Serving Alaska seafood on Holland America Line ships is part of the brand’s immersive culinary experiences and commitment to sustainability. On its Alaska cruises, the line typically 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 among other Alaska seafood-based dishes.

On Holland America Alaska cruises, the cruise ships typically serves more than 2,000 pounds of Alaska salmon, 1,000 pounds of Alaska cod, 800 pounds of Alaska halibut and 500 pounds of Alaska rockfish. ASMI/Holland America photo.

In 2022, Holland America Line was awarded Responsible Fisheries Management certification for all six of its ships that sail to Alaska, making it the first cruise line to achieve the credential by serving only certified sustainable and traceable wild Alaska seafood.

“We’ve shared the thrill of Alaska’s glaciers and wildlife with our guests for more than 75 years and supporting sustainable fishing and local business is an important commitment for us,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “With this new step, Holland America Line has committed to not only serving fresh, sustainable seafood, but ensuring our team has the knowledge to be expert sources to our guests as we cruise Alaska’s waters.”

ASMI marketing experts note that consumers prefer wild seafood by a 4-to-1 margin, with products that are clearly marked as wild, and more so with the Alaska Seafood logo, being more desirable to shoppers. While the vast majority of consumers want to eat sustainably, more than 3 in 5 Americans say they’re not sure which seafood is sustainable and which isn’t. 

“We know consumers are interested in learning about how to select seafood that’s high-quality, nutritious and sustainable. ASMI’s Seafood U® is available across various industries, so that anyone involved in the seafood industry, from processors to chefs and restaurant staff to grocery store seafood departments, can better understand the value of Alaska seafood,” said Leah Krafft, Foodservice Marketing Manager at ASMI. “We’re thrilled to take this step with longtime supporter of the Alaska seafood industry, Holland America Line, and hope it can serve as an example for how other operators can easily become more knowledgeable.”

Seafood from Alaska includes five species of wild salmon, cod, halibut, wild Alaska pollock, sablefish, rockfish, sole/flounder, crab and more that are available year-round. Alaska is the only state with sustainable fishing written into its constitution and the Alaska seafood industry goes to great lengths to ensure they only harvest what the environment can support, meaning consumers can feel good about choosing seafood from the area, whether that’s on a cruise ship, from a restaurant menu or from the seafood case, freezer or shelf-stable section of the local supermarket.

The Seafood U® training course is available across industries for workers anywhere seafood is bought, sold or served. To inquire about access to the training program, contact Leah Krafft at [email protected].

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