October 18, 2013
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Participants in Alaska's famous red king crab fishery are finally close to heading out into the Bering Sea, now that the federal government's partial shutdown is behind them.
The multimillion-dollar harvest featured on the Discovery Channel reality show, "Deadliest Catch," has been sidelined since the Tuesday opening. That's because federal managers who assign individual fishing quotas for the Bristol Bay fishery were among workers furloughed during the government's partial shutdown. Only boats representing a tiny fraction of the total harvest were allowed to head out on time because those quotas were assigned by the state.
Crabbers on 80 other boats involved in the much larger haul had to sit docked in Dutch Harbor, essentially hostages of national politics taking place at the other end of the country.
Those crabbers hope to head out no later than this weekend. Until that happens, each day spent sitting it out is that day of fishing that's been lost, said "Deadliest Catch" captain Keith Colburn.
"We're fishermen," he told The Associated Press on Thursday. "We're going stir-crazy because we want to fish."