Deadliest Catch returns with a two-hour premiere on April 18 on Discovery, with a new cast to continue an adventure started in 2005, which has given audiences an insight into the harsh working conditions of fishermen.

As National Fisherman reported in January, Deadliest Catch, the reality television series that follows crab fishermen aboard fishing vessels, will return this April despite the red king crab season being closed by Alaskan authorities.

Entertainment Weekly recently revealed the new cast for the new season of Deadliest Catch, which will, according to the website, “see a new generation of captains — including a storied author, rookie captains, and a deckhand aspiring for more — team up with fan-favorite skippers for the youngest and most diverse cast yet on the reality series.”

Captain Sig Hansen and his daughter and co-captain, Mandy, return for this season with their ship F/V Northwestern, and so does Andy Hillstrand, with his brothers Johnathan and Neal, with the F/V Time Bandit. Captain Bill Wichrowski is also returning with the F/V Summer Bay, but the remaining cast is new. Check the article at EW to know more.

New cast members for season 19 include:
  • Linda Greenlaw (Captain) F/V Summer Bay
  • Sophia “Bob” Nielsen (Captain) F/V Saga
  • Jack Bunnell (Captain) F/V Barbara J
  • Rick Shelford (Captain) F/V Aleutian Lady

So, despite all the problems, some of which National Fisherman reported recently, Deadliest Catch is ready to return for Season 19. The confirmation was on F/V Summer Bay's Facebook page at the start of the year. Landon Cheney, Crabber at F/V Summer Bay, wrote on January 3 “Here and here we go! The 2023 fishing season is underway! In recent weeks we’ve seen Discovery’s marketing strategy at work, with short videos paving the way for the first episode of what is one of the most popular reality television series on Discovery Channel.

Captain Bill Wichrowski returns for Season 19 with the F/V Summer Bay.

Creating a bond with the audiences

Since 2005, when the first episode was released, the show has gained immense popularity and has given its audience a glimpse of the rigorous work and risks involved in the fishing industry. The show focuses on fishermen from various backgrounds who come together to venture into the deadly waters of the Bering Sea. The addition of new members to the cast keeps the show interesting, while the more familiar faces of some of the key participants creates a bond with the audiences that has grown as the number of Deadliest Catch episodes grows.

One of the most interesting aspects of Deadliest Catch is the teamwork required by the fishermen. Fishing boats work as a team, and each member has a crucial role in the expedition. They must work together to catch, process, and store their products.

The crew members support and motivate each other to ensure their safety and success. The show highlights the human element of the fishing industry and the importance of understanding the value of teamwork. Videos like the recently published - on Facebook - of the crew from the F/V Time Bandit saving a deckhand from another boat who fell overboard are a clear example of the support fishermen give to each other.

Giving audiences a first-row seat to watch what happens on the deck of a fishing vessel is what makes Deadliest Catch so exciting as a reality TV show. It’s the type of real-life narrative that keeps you on the edge of your sofa as you watch those crews putting their lives on the line when they face harsh weather conditions such as storms, freezing temperatures, and huge waves.

The risks involved in the industry have led to many fatal accidents, and the show has covered many of these incidents. In fact, its title is derived from the inherent high risk of injury or death associated with this line of work.

New blood, new threats, and record-high Alaskan crab prices…

Since the first season, there have been a dozen deaths related to Deadliest Catch, not all job-related, but still mentioned as the names and faces of those who died became popular because of the show. And the trailer for the new season confirms that death continues to be around, as Captain Sig Hansen is seen at what appears to be a funeral.

Announcing the upcoming show, Discovery Channel states “New blood, new threats, and record-high Alaskan crab prices...” a clear reference to the actual situation regarding the government directives in terms of crab fishing. While Deadliest Catch has previously stressed the importance of responsible fishing techniques and regulations to maintain and preserve the sea's natural resources, it will be interesting to see how season 19 deals with the legal limitations.

The press release issued by Discovery notes that "as Alaskan Crab prices reach new all-time highs and with over a million pounds of Eastern Bairdi now up for grabs, Bering Sea captains and a wave of newcomers look to earn their share of the sky-rocketing payday. But record seafood prices and tensions with Russia and China fuel illegal fishing by both foreign vessels and domestic rival industries. Now, veteran captains and the next generation of crabbers must overcome differences and band together to defend their grounds and protect one of America's most valuable resources."

One thing is sure: the show has highlighted the economic impact of commercial fishing. Fishing plays a significant role in the economy of many coastal areas, and the revenues generated are crucial for the livelihood of many people. The show has portrayed how competitive and unpredictable the industry can be and how most of the revenues come from crab fishing.

Deadliest Catch has also brought to light the dangerous and strenuous lives of commercial fishermen and in that way, made fishermen heroes whose – real-life – adventures a growing audience keeps watching as each new season unfolds. The discovery of the human element of the industry and the people who make their living from it has changed the way those who watch the series look at the fish they eat. That is, no doubt, one of the triumphs of a series that had a humble start but grew, rather unexpectedly, to be one of the most popular products from Discovery.

Besides all the spinoffs explored along the way, those narratives about fishermen continue, and Deadliest Catch, produced by Original Productions, a Fremantle company, is about to return, for season 19, on April 18, on Discovery.

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Jose Antunes is a freelance journalist who writes about technology, software, photography and video.

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