During its almost two decades on television, “Deadliest Catch” has shown its viewers the challenges, dangers, victories, defeats, and much more in the lives of crab fishermen working in the waters off Alaska.
With its most recent season, which is season 17, those brave men and women faced a whole new challenge – the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic did not prevent some of them from going to work. And it did not prevent their work from being captured on film.
According to Distractify, the most recent season of “Deadliest Catch” was filmed during the winter of 2020. The fishermen went out during crab season, which takes place each year from October through January. Even though COVID-19 lockdowns were keeping many people at home, you can’t stop nature. So, out on the ships the fishermen – and a television crew – went.
The crews – both ship and filming – resided on the boat during the whole crab run. This typically lasts for three weeks, but can last as long as five weeks. Interestingly, because space on the boat is very limited, the filming crew is usually made up of only two individuals.
It is their responsibility to film the action on board. They are also responsible for filming interviews with the fishermen very soon after the action takes place. This makes “Deadliest Catch” unique. Most other reality television series wait to film the interviews about situations after filming has taken place.
Global Pandemic Had an Impact on the Crew of ‘Deadliest Catch’
While the global COVID-19 pandemic did not keep season 17 of “Deadliest Catch” from being filmed, it did have an impact on crab season and how the fishermen approached their business. The captain of the F/V Northwestern, Sig Hansen, commented on this during an interview with Men’s Journal.
“The season still had accidents, waves, and weather—we had a lot of ice come down from Russia. But, COVID was the biggest hurdle and obstacle we’ve faced as a fleet, yet,” Hansen said.
Hansen and company were very worried about reaching their set quota for the season. In order to keep their fishery open, they have to meet that quota. Failure to do so would result in the fishery being closed for two years.
One factor that put meeting that quota for Hansen and company was that many boats could not leave Seattle. Another factor was that the crew did not have the usual information they use to determine where crabs can be found. They did not have this information because the Alaska Department of Fish and Game department could not do its summer crab surveys because of COVID-19. These surveys are used to establish the quota fishermen are given.
The filming of “Deadliest Catch” takes place in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Hansen and company begin their journey in Dutch Harbor and venture out to sea to do their very dangerous work.
You can check out a sneak peek of season 17 of “Deadliest Catch” below. The first episode of this season aired in April 2021. You can watch the series on the Discovery Channel or discovery+.