'Deadliest Catch' Season 17 Was Filmed During Peak Pandemic

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author

Apr. 27 2021, Updated 8:59 p.m. ET

Deadliest Catch
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Extreme fishing fans were excited to learn that Deadliest Catch was coming back for Season 17. The first episode of the season premiered April 20, reeling us (see what we did there?) right back into the show that follows the Alaskan king crab fishing fleets which battle brutal weather. This season, cast members of Deadliest Catch not only go up against the harsh elements, but they're also dealing with COVID setbacks. 

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That's right. Deadliest Catch Season 17 was filmed during the COVID pandemic. Here's what else you need to know.

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When was 'Deadliest Catch' Season 17 filmed?

Deadliest Catch Season 17 was filmed this past winter (crab season runs from October to January), during a time when much of the country was in lockdown again. Because it's hard to work around crab season, the crew had no other choice. Luckily, the chances of exposing others outside of the production team are small. The crew actually films for the entire duration of the crab run (around three to five weeks), living in the boat for that entire time.

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Because the space on the boat is so tight, there's generally only two film crew members on board at most. Deadliest Catch also captures interviews and reactions right then and there (versus other reality shows, which film the interview portion after the season is filmed). According to HowStuffWorks, "The show's producers believe that this brings immediacy and a genuine reality that's missing from most other shows in the genre."

Sig Hansen, the captain of F/V Northwestern, opened up to Men's Journal about Season 17 and the challenges the crew faced. “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.”

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Thanks to the pandemic, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game wasn't able to perform its summer crab surveys, something the Deadliest Catch team uses to set quotas and understand where the crabs are located, their health, and how many of them to expect. According to the rules, if the fleet doesn't catch its allocation, the fishery will be ordered to shut down for two whole years. Plus, half the fleet is stuck in Seattle. 

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"A shutdown was a real possibility, and it was a scary thought for all of us," Hansen admitted.

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What's the filming location of 'Deadliest Catch'?

Deadliest Catch is filmed near the chain of the Aleutian Islands, one of the island chains in Alaska. They begin at the Dutch Harbor and sail the Northwestern, Time Bandit, and Cornelia Marie. Conditions are rough: the wind is strong, fierce, and icy, the temps are freezing cold, and the waves are ferocious. If that sounds scary, it's because it is. Alaskan fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.

Good luck to everyone this season! 

Watch new episodes of Deadliest Catch every Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on Discovery.

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