‘Deadliest Catch’ Captain Sig Hansen Previews COVID’s Impact on Season 17
“The town is shut down to half capacity. It’s crazy!”
It’s February 2021, and Deadliest Catch‘s Capt. Sig Hansen, who’s chatting with us via Zoom from the wheelhouse of his F/V Northwestern docked in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, is still incredulous about the pandemic’s devastating effects on the crab fishing industry.
Season 17 of the Emmy-winning reality series, shot last winter, picks up at a crisis point: Half the Bering Sea fleet is tied up in Seattle due to increased COVID-19 regulations. If the boats that have made it to Dutch are unable to catch the fleet’s full 5 million-pound quota, they will fail to prove the health of the fishery and could face a government mandated shutdown to allow time for crab stocks to replenish.
Sig, whose crew includes his savvy daughter/relief captain, Mandy, and her husband, Clark Pederson, has to get creative. He convinces F/V Time Bandit cocaptain Johnathan Hillstrand to come out of retirement and talks the series’ competitive, territorial captains into a pact promising they’ll share information about hot spots to maximize the numbers.
“How long is that trust gonna last?” Sig asks in the two-hour premiere. Longtime fans can guess!
Deadliest Catch, Season Premiere, Tuesday, April 20, 8/7c, Discovery