‘Deadliest Catch’ Finale Shows the Early Days of the COVID-19 Pandemic


September 22’s gripping finale of the Emmy-winning reality show Deadliest Catch was shot in mid-February, just when the COVID-19 pandemic began its lethal spread around the world.

Like everyone, the crab fishing captains out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, had to pivot — and fast. They were in the midst of a lucrative season, and many were far from port in the northern reaches of the Bering Sea.

“What began as worries about the safety of loved ones in Seattle, where most of the captains have families, quickly grew to include concerns that the global seafood market could be negatively affected by lockdowns and travel restrictions,” says exec producer Bill Howard.

Deadliest Catch Discovery Channel

(Credit: Discovery)

Anticipating a crash in crab price, captains Sig Hansen, Monte Colburn and “Wild Bill” Wichrowski raced their catches 500 miles back to Dutch, while Casey McManus and his crew were slowed by sea ice that overtook their gear.

Workhorse Jake Anderson was really up against the clock; he drove the Saga north, beyond the reach of Coast Guard rescue helicopters, to fill his tanks and get home for the birth of his third child. He made it…two weeks after delivery.

With rigorous safety protocols in place, next season is a go, Howard confirms: “It’s a new world of challenges in what was already one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.”

Deadliest Catch, Season 16 Finale, Tuesday, September 22, 8/7c, Discovery