'Deadliest Catch' Faces 'Fishing Cliff'

Shutdown may delay Alaska crabbing season

A crabbing boat off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. The federal government shutdown may delay the crabbing season, which beings on Tuesday. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Wikimedia)
Photo: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Wikimedia bering sea crabs fishing boat alaska

The three-month Alaska crab season starts Tuesday, October 15, but it's still unclear if the federal shutdown will affect the 80-some vessels that sail the Bering Sea. Crabbers, including the crew on the Discovery Channel show "Deadliest Catch," are still waiting for permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service. U.S.

Representative Suzan Delbene said on the House floor that "we are facing a 'fishing cliff' in the Bering Sea unless Congress acts," the Seattle Times reports.

Jake Jacobsen, director of the Seattle-based Inter-Cooperative Exchange, said to the Times that if the crab season were pushed back a few days it wouldn't cause worry at seafood restaurants around the U.S. since the crab season runs until January 15.

The greatest financial threat comes from the loss in foreign markets. If the shutdown last until the end of October, crabs may not reach the Japanese markets before January 1. Crab is to New Year's in Japan as turkey is to Thanksgiving in the U.S., and half of Alaska king crab is sold in Japan.

This afternoon, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on how the shutdown is affecting the nation's economic security. Keith Colburn, one of the stars of "Deadliest Catch," is invited to testify. 

Watch the full Senate hearing

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