‘Deadliest Catch’: Sig Hansen’s Reason Why Season 17 is the Toughest Yet

by Amy Myers

Last year was a rough year for the crabbers and anglers of Deadliest Catch, too. Like so many of us, the crews had to face new obstacles that they never imagined on the water. Coupled with the health crisis consuming the nation back on land, the 17th season was truly the toughest for captains like Sig Hansen.

In an interview with Nicki Swift, the Deadliest Catch star explained which parts of season 17 proved to be the most difficult for the seasoned angler of the Bering Sea.

“I think, because of all of the unknowns, and you know later on, we had the calamity, you know like for me we had mechanical breakdowns that really hurt us, and the timing, and things just didn’t click, you know, the way that you’d like it to, but that’s the thing about fishing, you can’t take it for granted,” Hansen explained.

The Deadliest Catch captain continued, “You can’t expect everything to go smoothly. In fact, it never does. You know, whether it’s weather or crew member issues or an accident or an incident, you know, that’s always there, and you always have to kind of roll with the punches when you’re out there.”

Mechanical issues and timing aside, the Deadliest Catch crew had another big hurdle to face. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented NOAA and Alaska fishing and game officials to complete a survey that summer of the waters and sea life populations. Essentially, this meant that the crews were fishing blind without the guide to show them where key areas may be.

Sig Hansen Rounds Up the Rest of the ‘Deadliest Catch’ Captains

However, with new challenges come new solutions. When the captain of the Northwestern found himself struggling to have a successful season, he decided to make an unprecedented change to the way the vessels interacted on the Bering Sea. Usually, the Deadliest Catch crews fight for their catches and theirs alone. The competition can be cut-throat as captains fight to find the best spots for their cages in the rough and frigid waters off the coast of Alaska.

This year, though, Hansen had a different idea. He gathered the other captains and came up with the idea to work together. At first, Hansen didn’t think his fellow Deadliest Catch captains would be willing to work as a team.

“If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t have bet on it, put it that way, but I think they understood the, you know, the risk that we were facing which was literally no season at all. We didn’t have a survey to go by, the summer survey, so understanding that was key,” Hansen shared. “And, you know, without a season this year, you’re looking at a potential two-year shutdown of the protocol.”

“We had a lot on the line this year, more than any.”