US shutdown hits 'Deadliest Catch' fishery
Alaska's multimillion-dollar red king crab season opened Tuesday, but most of the participating boats remained at dock because federal managers who are supposed to set individual fishing quotas are among workers still furloughed in the government's partial shutdown.
Only boats representing a tiny fraction of the total harvest will be heading out into the Bering Sea. For that community development program, quotas are assigned by the state, with only seven vessels signed up to fish as of Tuesday.
Crabbers in the much larger haul fear that a late opening of the Bristol Bay fishery made famous by the Discovery Channel reality show, "Deadliest Catch," will slash into their profits from the lucrative holiday market in Japan. For now, all crews can do is sit and wait at Alaska's Dutch Harbor.
As far as "Deadliest Catch" captain Keith Colburn is concerned, the somber reality is that fishermen are being held politically hostage by "a bunch of knuckleheads" back East.
"We're all idle," Colburn told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Dutch Harbor. "Were sitting here scratching our heads, going, 'Why are we not fishing?'"