Deadliest Catch on Discovery returns for its landmark 17th season on Tuesday, April 20th at 8/7c. What will the new season be about and who are the crews?

The first episode began streaming for Discovery+ subscribers on March 19th, but for regular viewers, the new series of Deadliest Catch premieres on April 20th on the Discovery Channel.

The series will continue to air on Tuesdays at 10, although Discovery+ subscribers will have access to episode two on April 20th as they get episodes a week early.

Photo: Discovery

What will the new season be about?

Discovery says that “half the crab boats of the Bering Sea fleet are tied up in Seattle” while “an existential threat faces the fishermen who make the long-haul trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska,” because they face “a potential closure of the entire fishery” for the 2021 season.

Because of the lockdowns, Alaska Department of Fish and Game couldn’t conduct the summer crab survey, so captains don’t have charts or guidance on where to find crab on the grounds.

Discovery says that means, “the captains will be fishing blind with no charts or guidance on where to find crab on the grounds—making an already challenging season even more difficult.”

Deadliest Catch season 17: boats, captains and crews

Leading the charge in what Discovery is calling “a season like no other before” is Hansen (from the F/V Northwestern), with a plan that requires someone who will stick his neck out: his friend and legendary crabber Johnathan Hillstrand (of the F/V Time Bandit).

Here’s the details in full along with Discovery’s summaries of what they’ll face.

Photo: Discovery


Spearheading their defense is Captain Sig Hansen from the F/V Northwestern – who proposes a two-pronged plan to save the fishery.

First, Sig needs someone who isn’t afraid to stick his neck out. And there is only one person that comes to mind – his good friend and legendary crabber Johnathan Hillstrand.

Time Bandit

Johnathan would bring a massive operation, as commander of the F/V Time Bandit, and could provide a lifeline to help catch the fleet’s towering 5-million-pound fall season quota.

But will Johnathan agree to come out of retirement? And leave behind everything and everyone he loves during such difficult times?

Sig’s second strategy goes against everything the old-time crabbers have ever done before – working together as a pack. It’s a huge risk and requires honesty and cooperation from everyone.

But can the captains put the good of the fleet ahead of their own interests? Some of them have their doubts.


Just days ahead of the season launch, Captain Keith Colburn of the F/V Wizard has his own set of problems.

His WW2-era boat is in need of maintenance, and the captain desperately needs a fruitful season to pay for his upcoming shipyard.

Lady Alaska

Enter Captain Scott Campbell Jr. of the F/V Lady Alaska. Scott believes he has secret intel on where to find crab.

Scott hatches a plan to share his intel with longtime rival Keith in exchange for quota. However, when he approaches him, things don’t go exactly as Scott had hoped.


On the F/V Saga, Captain Jake Anderson is back and aiming to secure more quota.

But will this young captain be able to pull off a successful season when he’s come up empty in the past?

Or will F/V Northwestern’s reserve captain, Mandy Hansen, enlist Jake in her own plan to tank their combined share of the total crab quota?

Cornelia Marie

Also returning this year are Captains Josh Harris and Casey McManus of the F/V Cornelia Marie.

This year, they struggled to find a strong crew and must call upon their business partner Jeff Silva from Hawaii to join them.

Though Jeff proves that he puts the green in greenhorn shortly after setting sail.

Summer Bay

Finally, rounding out the fleet this year is Captain Wild Bill and the F/V Summer Bay.

His crew has faced incredible loss this past year including the passing of deckhand Mahlon Reyes, who suffered a deadly heart attack at the young age of 38 years old.

Bill and his crew honor Mahlon’s memory by giving him a proper fisherman’s burial at sea before setting off on the new crabbing season. But just as they attempt to leave the dock, crew member Nick McGlashan suddenly falls ill with a fever.

Will Bill even be able to leave in time? Or will he be out of the fishing game for good this season as his crew must isolate from each other?

Deadliest Catch Season 17 premieres on Discovery on Tuesday, April 20, at 8/7c!

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