The government shutdown has affected the people who fish for Alaska red king crab, and are featured on the Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch, who are supposed to start fishing Oct. 15 but will not be able to because furloughed workers set the required quotas. Meanwhile, the venerable Cornelia Marie will not be featured on the upcoming season.
Wizard captain Keith Colburn will testify today before the Senate’s Commerce Committee about the shutdown’s impact on his industry.
The AP reports that “National fisheries managers who are supposed to assign individual quotas for the multimillion-dollar harvest before its scheduled opening next week are among federal workers who have been furloughed,” so “all crews can do is sit and wait at Dutch Harbor. That means boat owners are accumulating costs of about $1,000 a day for such expenses as insurance, mortgage fees and food for crew members.”
Earlier, Colburn said on KIRO that it affects more than just the people on the boats, but also those involved in processing and shipping crab. “If we don’t have this crab on the trampers and being shipped by the middle of November, then we’re going to see a drastic reduction on the price at the dock…once the holidays disappear, then that price for our product starts to diminish dramatically,” he said.
Asked by the AP if this will affect production on the series, the Discovery Channel had no comment.
Meanwhile, Josh Harris, whose father Phil Harris’ death was chronicled on the show’s best episode, wrote on Facebook last month that “things with Discovery couldn’t meet up with what we needed” so the Cornelia Marie “was not optioned this year so we regretfully will not be on the show anymore.”
There’s more evidence of bad blood between the network and ship: A Kickstarter campaign to fund a book about the ship was suspended because of a copyright infringement notice from Discovery, which cited the use of 39 seconds of footage from the series in its copyright complaint to Kickstarter, which is very classy of them.
It’s not like Discovery has profited wildly from footage of the boat and its dying captain, and clearly allowing 39 seconds of footage would have damaged their brand, which now involves lying to viewers and pretending science doesn’t matter.