Deadliest Catch fans have seen the Bering Sea crab-fishing fleet go through a lot over the years, as Capt. Sig Hansen’s 90-second summary above can attest. But when the Emmy-winning show returns April 11 for its 13th season on Discovery, there’s a new kind of situation to deal with: The crabs in all the captains’ traditional hot spots seemed to have vanished.
According to Discovery’s release, with the new season’s details, temperatures in the Bering Sea have risen around 4 degrees in the last year — 50 times the global average. “The fleet is going to need to go further and deeper,” Hansen says. “Nobody is going to take away a fisherman’s way of life. I can guarantee you that this fleet will not quit. … But we’re always fearful that this will be our last year.”
Of course, whether this will be Hansen’s last year in the Northwestern wheelhouse is a very real question after he suffered a heart attack in 2016. Also weighing on his decision about whether the job is worth the potential cost, which the fleet feels sharply when the crew of the Destination is tragically lost at sea: the news that he’s going to be a grandfather.
Capt. Johnathan Hillstrand, meanwhile, has decided this will be his final season on the Time Bandit, but it won’t go according to plan: He’ll get stuck in Seattle with repairs before heading out and struggling to find the crab with the rest of the fleet.
Over on the Saga, the pressure mounts on Capt. Jake Anderson, who has the highest quota in the fleet. If he doesn’t catch it in time, he’ll lose it to another captain. So he isn’t exactly happy when his crew isn’t ready to leave Dutch Harbor when he is.
Capt. Wild Bill Wichrowski also has a lot riding on the season, now that he’s a boat owner. Reports of the missing crab combined with equipment failure on his new Summer Bay make conditions right for another legendary outburst.
Capt. Sean Dwyer struggles to make quota for the Brenna A and keep his family business afloat, while Capt. Keith Colburn puts pressure on himself to make the Wizard top dog in the fleet to prove his head is fully back in the game.
And, as always, Mother Nature is her own character on the show, with 40-foot rogue waves, hurricane-force winds, and massive icebergs.
Season 13 of Deadliest Catch premieres April 11 at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.
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