The Discovery Channel has spent the last couple of months (at least) planning and shooting their video recording of Newport’s large fishing fleet that parks along the city’s Bayfront when they’re not out risking lives catching fish. As they convey on “The Deadliest Catch – Dungeon Cove” to air this Fall, it’s not all playing pirates and having fun. It’s slap-in-your-face, grind-down-your-body hard work and deadly to boot. Lives are lost every year off the Oregon Coast despite the best efforts of Coast Guard rescue helicopters. Whether after Salmon, Halibut, Lincod or Dungeness Crab, it’s deadly dangerous work for fishermen where death can come in a double trough pitch or a single sneaker wave across the fantail. Each fisherman knows in his bones that he or she can be there one second, and gone the next.
“Deadliest Catch” videographers like Matt Lee are grateful that technology has allowed video cameras to be as small as they are, yet produce excellent video quality as they record true life TV episodes of fishermens’ lives at sea.
Back in Newport, the Fishing Vessel Lady Law disgorges her huge haul of Dungeness Crab at the Bayfront docks. It’s important to unload fast and then quickly turn fantail and head back out to sea for more dropping of pots full of bait onto the ocean floor. Then after hours of those pots filling up with big fat crabs that get trapped inside they’re hauled back up to the surface and into the hold of the fishing vessel – soon on its way back to Newport for another unloading.
Prized Dungeness Crab – a holiday season favorite if crab fishermen can get out to sea by December 2nd. This year it was nearly the first of the year before a problem with domoic acid would slack off enough to allow the crab harvest to begin. The lateness of the season start might partially explain the fairly low price crabbers were getting for their catch. But the lower prices were a boon for wholesale buyers who were shipping crab from Newport up to Seattle to be air freighted to Japan, South Korea and especially to China where eager crab connoisseurs snap them up at $15 to $20 a pound – even higher.
Again, the “Deadliest Catch – Dungeon Cove” will be in post production from March through about September, after which the five episodes will appear on the Discovery Channel, coast to coast and around the world.