The Deadliest Catch And Other Crab Fishermen Need To Find A New Alaskan Spot Thanks To Climate Change
Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

Even if you’ve only been a fan of Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” for a short period of time, it’s still pretty obvious that the list of essential steps needed for the featured captains and boats to rake in a season’s worth of seafood remains consistent. On top of a meticulously maintained boat, needed are traps, bait, backup equipment, a solid crew, and more than a handful of other necessities. Of course, the most important detail is the one thing these brave fishermen are there for in the first place, and that’s the crab itself. However, due to climate change, the fishing industry on the Bering Sea has been flipped on its head.

The majority of these boats cast off from Dutch Harbor, the landing spot featured on the series since its 2005 premiere. Past that, these fishermen have nothing but the treacherous waters of the Bering sea in front of them, known as one of the best crab-catching spots in the world. However, towards the end of 2022, a shocking announcement was made (via Alaska Beacon) that the fishing season for two species of crab, snow and red, has been canceled.

Fans will recognize that these two specific types of crab are exactly the ones the boats of “Deadliest Catch” are seeking. The bigger picture, however, is that this sudden announcement affects not only the reality series but also the entire Alaskan fishing industry. Now, both locals and the show’s producers are scrambling to make the necessary changes to financially survive, all while not knowing how long this major suspension will last.

Both red and snow crab seasons have been cancelled

The Deadliest Catch And Other Crab Fishermen Need To Find A New Alaskan Spot Thanks To Climate Change
Discovery/YouTube

Up until last season, despite releasing new episodes over the past eighteen years, viewers at home have watched virtually the same business model carried out by each of the featured boats on “Deadliest Catch.” For both species of snow and red crab, these captains are given a specific quota (a predetermined limit of crab), which is based on the ship’s catching history over the years. However, these quotas now mean nothing since catching these species is suspended, and now we know it’s due to climate change.

In October 2022, crab fishermen that work off the Bering Sea found out that the number of crabs estimated for the upcoming season had declined by “multiple billions.” Michael Litzow of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), explained the probable cause of this shocking news.”We’re still trying to figure it out, but certainly there’s very clear signs of the role of climate change in the collapse,” he said (via Fortune). There’s no doubt that this has caused fishermen to quickly come up with an alternative plan for their fishing season.

With the usual crab-heavy spots of the Bearing Sea warming up in temperature, these cold-water crustaceans have either perished or moved to different spots of the water. This will result in fishermen throughout the Alaskan coast setting their sites towards different areas, or in different bodies of water, all together. Despite the catastrophic declining numbers of crab and the cancellation of quotas, producers of the hit series have reassured fans that Season 19 will still be filmed. It will be interesting to see how they end up handling this unforeseen situation.

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