Discovery Channel viewers have been watching the captains and crew of the Deadliest Catch fleet battle the Bering Sea in their search for crab since 2005, but even the biggest fans can have some serious misconceptions about the reality of what goes down.
Ahead of the landmark 15th season of the Discovery Channel docuseries (premiering Tuesday, April 9 at 9 p.m. ET), PopCulture.com's Anna Rumer visited Dutch Harbor, Alaska, trying her hand at greenhorning on the F/V Summer Bay and talking with F/V Wizard Captain Keith Colburn about the realities of crabbing for an audience.
With the advent of social media, there's a much bigger opportunity for fans to interact directly with the captains, but Colburn said he tries not to let that get him down, especially when it comes to people who come for the fleet's ecological impact on the crab.
"If they close [the quotas] for 3 years, they're going to say its overfished," he explained. "We're taking less than 10 percent of the legal, not even mature males, and 1 or 2 percent of entire biomass. But screw the fishermen."
He continued, "When you see natural mortality rates, that can run 25 to 30 percent annually. Now the 3 million crab that we're gonna keep this year of the male crab, there will be 20 million of them, or 10 million of them who will pass away from natural causes over the course of the next year. So we're not impacting the crab as much as people would think."
In addition, while the pots and equipment have remained pretty much the same since Colburn first took to the Bering Sea in 1985, the material used to keep the crab trapped is biodegradable, setting them free if a pot is lost at sea.
As for the Wizard, Colburn gushed that the vessel is "actually in better shape" than when he first got her 30 years ago.
"Me and this girl here, I have a major love affair with her," he said, gesturing to the boat and joking, "You know she's a girl because she's ornery, she's cranky, she's stubborn. Sometimes she just doesn't want to do what you want her to do, but end of the day, she's gonna tease."0comments
For more of Captain Keith and the Wizard's adventures this year, don't miss the Season 15 premiere of Deadliest Catch on Tuesday, April 9 at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.
Photo credit: Facebook/Deadliest Catch