'Deadliest Catch' Captain Sig Hansen Talks Face-off Against the Russians in New Season (Exclusive)

It's the U.S. against Russia in Season 16 of Deadliest Catch, premiering Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Discovery, and Captain Sig Hansen of the Northwestern is at the forefront of one of the most cut-throat King Crab seasons the Bering Sea has ever seen. Ahead of Tuesday's return, Sig talked with PopCulture about the intense conditions that forced the fleet to come together — at least temporarily — to fight for the U.S. and their fortune.

With Russia revamping their crab quota system to cut down on illegal fishing, the price of crab was expected to skyrocket, and things were getting hairy at the U.S.-Russia sea line at the start of the season. This shifted some of the competition that typically goes down between the fleet captains onto a more international target, Sig said, with the emphasis on "some." He explained, "It's similar to if you go on strike. ...I think there was a common denominator, where we knew we had to work together, but that's never the case."

Even with that kind of patriotism binding them together, Sig admitted he still clashed with the other fleet captains who "rub [him] the wrong way," but praised protégé Jake Anderson, who captained the Saga alongside former Time Bandit Skipper Johnathan Hillstrand this season, for finally getting it right. "He finally listened to daddy," Sig joked. "But there was a new rapport, and I finally felt good with that. The light finally lit up in his eyes, and he listened to me instead of trying to recreate the wheel."

Daughter Mandy also did her dad proud, taking her first run as solo captain after getting the Hansen treatment of being tossed into the deep end. "I couldn't be more proud of her," Sig said. "Everybody has a first time for everything, and I expected her to fail. I expected problems, but what it did for me was make me realize that's what my father did for me."

The Bering Sea is a dangerous place to make your mark, as Sig well knows. Having suffered the loss of the Scandies Rose, captained by Gary Cobban Jr., in January, the Northwestern captain admitted he's "more fearful today" than he ever has been. "You can only dodge so many bullets," he said.

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For more of Sig's adventures out on the Bering Sea, don't miss Deadliest Catch, returning Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery, followed by the new spinoff series Deadliest Catch: Bloodline at 10 p.m. ET.

Deadliest Catch is produced for Discovery Channel by Original Productions, a Fremantle company. For Original Productions, Executive Producers are Jeff Hasler, Brian Lovett, Ernie Avila, Arom Starr-Paul, Thom Beers and Co-Executive Producers Johnny Beechler and Geoff Miller. For Discovery Channel, Executive Producers are Joseph Boyle and Bill Howard with Coordinating Producer Cameron Doyle.