DUTCH HARBOR, Alaska — The Discovery Channel program “Deadliest Catch” has created an entirely new phenomenon: the celebrity crab fisherman. The show is both extremely popular, with the finale of the fourth season drawing over three and a half million viewers, and also incredibly compelling in its portrayal of the reality of doing this dangerous job in the harshest of environments: the Bering Sea.
Finding himself right in the midst of this phenomenon is Travis Lofland, a 1992 graduate of Lynden High School.
Lofland, since leaving Lynden, has gained a decade of experience as a commercial fisherman of cod, salmon, halibut, squid and crab. Now, since rejoining the crew of the Wizard, a Seattle-based 155-foot crab fishing boat that fishes out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and for the first time joining the cast of Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch,” he plans to fish solely for crab in the foreseeable future.
Crab fishing in the Bering Sea, according to Lofland, is “the most intense, and the most rewarding fishing I’ve ever done.” He said that rather than being a deterrent, the relative danger of a job where deaths are not uncommon is part of the reason he is attracted to it.
“There is a definite rush with the big weather and the camaraderie with the guys on the boat that you don’t get anywhere else,” he said.
What is also apparent on “Deadliest Catch” is the high level of intensity that this variety of crab fishing demands, and it appears that the cameras, in this instance, do not lie.
“The footage shown is sometimes edited so something that happened a,b,c,d is shown d,a,c,b, but it’s still completely real,” Lofland said. “And up there it is a life-and-death situation all the time.”
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