In the wake of the global pandemic, half the crab boats of the Bering Sea fleet are tied up in Seattle. Now an existential threat faces the fishermen who make the long-haul trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for the 2021 Crab season – a potential closure of the entire fishery. Crabbing isn’t just a way of life for the captains and their crew. This year, it’s a fight for the industry’s survival. If they’re going to make it work, the fleet will need to make sacrifices and band together across lines – even with long-sworn enemies. Their livelihood depends on it or they could potentially face the end of their careers.

It’s been a tough year for everyone, especially for the crabbing fleet in Alaska. Due to government-imposed lockdowns, Alaska Department of Fish and Game weren’t able to conduct their summer crab survey. Meaning this year, the captains will be fishing blind with no charts or guidance on where to find crab on the grounds – making an already challenging season even more difficult. It doesn’t take long for the captains to realize that they can’t start this season without a new approach.

Spearheading their defense is Captain Sig Hansen from the F/V Northwestern – who proposes a two-pronged plan to save the fishery. First, Sig needs someone who isn’t afraid to stick his neck out. And there is only one person that comes to mind – his good friend and legendary crabber Johnathan Hillstrand.

Deadliest Catch

Discovery Channel // Season: 17
It's the deadliest job on earth: crab fishing off the Alaska coast on the icy Bering Sea, home of the most violent ...

Johnathan would bring a massive operation, as commander of the F/V Time Bandit, and could provide a lifeline to help catch the fleet’s towering 5-million-pound fall season quota. But will Johnathan agree to come out of retirement? And leave behind everything and everyone he loves during such difficult times? Sig’s second strategy goes against everything the old-time crabbers have ever done before – working together as a pack. It’s a huge risk and requires honesty and cooperation from everyone. But can the captains put the good of the fleet ahead of their own interests? Some of them have their doubts.

DEADLIEST CATCH returns with a season like no other before, streaming exclusively first on Friday, March 19 on discovery+, ahead of the season premiere airing Tuesday, April 20 at 8 PM ET/PT on Discovery.

Just days ahead of the season launch, Captain Keith Colburn of the F/V Wizard has his own set of problems. His WW2-era boat is in need of maintenance, and the captain desperately needs a fruitful season to pay for his upcoming shipyard. Enter Captain Scott Campbell Jr. of the F/V Lady Alaska. Scott believes he has secret intel on where to find crab. Scott hatches a plan to share his intel with longtime rival Keith in exchange for quota. However, when he approaches him, things don’t go exactly as Scott had hoped.

On the F/V Saga, Captain Jake Anderson is back and aiming to secure more quota. But will this young captain be able to pull off a successful season when he’s come up empty in the past? Or will F/V Northwestern’s reserve captain, Mandy Hansen, enlist Jake in her own plan to tank their combined share of the total crab quota?

Also returning this year are Captains Josh Harris and Casey McManus of the F/V Cornelia Marie. This year, they struggled to find a strong crew and must call upon their business partner Jeff Silva from Hawaii to join them. Though Jeff proves that he puts the green in greenhorn shortly after setting sail.

Finally, rounding out the fleet this year is Captain Wild Bill and the F/V Summer Bay. His crew has faced incredible loss this past year including the passing of deckhand Mahlon Reyes, who suffered a deadly heart attack at the young age of 38 years old. Bill and his crew honor Mahlon’s memory by giving him a proper fisherman’s burial at sea before setting off on the new crabbing season. But just as they attempt to leave the dock, crew member Nick McGlashan suddenly falls ill with a fever. Will Bill even be able to leave in time? Or will he be out of the fishing game for good this season as his crew must isolate from each other?

Forty-foot waves, government shutdowns, global pandemics and hurricane force winds are just a few reasons that no season is ever the same. DEADLIEST CATCH returns for its 17th season facing even more challenges than ever before. Will the legends step it up? Or will the pandemic and its aftermath decimate the crabbing industry for good, like so many other businesses?

Follow the conversation on social media with #DeadliestCatch, and follow Deadliest Catch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for more updates. You can also follow discovery+ on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

DEADLIEST CATCH is produced for Discovery 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, Executive Producers are Joseph Boyle and Bill Howard with Coordinating Producer Cameron Doyle. To learn more, go to www.discovery.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/discovery and on Twitter @Discovery.


About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.


About Discovery

Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.