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The Real Reason Sig Hansen Decided To Return To Norway In Deadliest Catch: The Viking Returns

Sig Hansen is certainly one of the biggest personalities on "Deadliest Catch." There's probably a reason why Hansen is the only cast member of the show to have been cast as a Pixar character. He's also one of the few to get his own spin-off, with "Deadliest Catch: The Viking Returns." In this series, Hansen assembles his family members to help him start a new crab fishing empire in his family's ancestral home of Norway. "I feel like it's a new beginning," Hansen says in the first episode, "Homeland." "This is a new start for us, and that's what makes it exciting."

Sig Hansen explained to Entertainment Weekly that Norway was a new challenge for him, even if it's a homecoming. "When I'm in the Bering Sea, I know the area and geography pretty much like the back of my hand," Hansen told EW. "Fishing in Norway was like a new map to learn." Hansen does mention in the episode that he fished in Norway as a teenager, but it seems he's long since forgotten his way around.

There's a specific reason why Hansen chose to expand into Norway after years of fishing in Alaska, and, in a way, he didn't really have much of a choice.

The first closure of the fishery in 25 years

In an interview with Headliner Chicago, Sig Hansen was asked why he made the decision to move into Norway. Hansen discussed the trouble with quotas while fishing in Alaska, but also brought up that there was a closure for the first time in 25 years. That refers to the decision in 2021 by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to close the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery for the season, a decision that is expected to cost harvesters over $100 million (per National Fisherman). 

"With fishing, there's no guarantee," Hansen told Headline Chicago. "We're not nine-to-five, and there's no guarantee that we have a job the next year."

According to an article in High North News, the closure comes as crab stocks have dropped significantly in the Bering Sea, even though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the crabs were not being overfished but simply moved elsewhere. In an interview with radio station KUCB – an NPR affiliate in Unalaska, Alaska — Jamie Goen, executive director for the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers trade association explained how far reaching the effects of the closure would be. "So that affects the vessels and the crew, it affects the shipyards that they go into, it affects the processors that take the crab and the fishing communities that rely on it," Goen explained. "But even more than that, it's one of America's and Alaska's iconic species. It's going to be a hit to the U.S. to not have Bristol Bay red king crab on the market." 

So, while it's certainly entertaining to have a Sig Hansen-based spin-off in "Deadliest Catch: The Viking Returns," it's unfortunate that it had to happen under these circumstances.