Sig Hansen’s Online Chat Transcript 07 May 8

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SecondMate: I suppose with the release of the series "Deadliest Catch" there are a lot more would—be fishermen on the piers looking for jobs. How many of them get turned away?

Sig: Now that the fleet is down to 70 or 80 boats, it is harder to get a job. One of the police officers in Dutch Harbor told me there were people sleeping in tents, trying to get work. Although one kid I met at the shipyard came up to me and shook my hand, and he thanked me for my advice which he had read on our website. The advice was to get a job with one of the processors in Alaska, thereby being able to make money while you're meeting people in the boats. Then maybe you can get lucky and get a job if they needed a hand, which happened to him. There's always the opportunity; I guess it's just the right place at the right time.

Mikek: if a crab cage was full, how much crab would be in it?

Sig: We fish larger pots than most. We fish 7x8 foot crab pots. When they're full (and it doesn't happen too often) you will have over 1000 opilio crab.

Adam: Sig, when you were approached to have cameramen aboard your ship filming, was there any hesitation on having your time aboard ship documented?

Sig: Absolutely. We did it the first year as kind of a tribute for our family, and I thought that would be it. Things sort of snowballed for us. It is easier now, but it was difficult the first time around, I have to admit that. We're not just representing ourselves; we're representing the Alaska crab fleet.

Trblcmn: Can you explain the deadlines you have with the processor and what happens if you do not make that deadline (the consequences)?

Sig: Under the new rules and regulations, they have played hardball with us. They're trying to get the crab to market quickly for their best price, so we were up against lower prices if the crab weren't delivered when they needed them. That's not how the new system was intended to work. It was supposed to take the race out of fishing to make it safer. I feel like we're still racing.

Eric B: Do you have a website where you sell Northwestern stuff?

Sig: We started a website last year, and it's a lot of fun. We sell all sorts of items, and I get a kick out of it. Check it out — you might get a chuckle or two.

Discovery: Thank you for being here today to answer questions about life aboard the Northwestern! Do you have anything you'd like to add, before we have to close?

Sig: I just think that the show itself and the expectations of the show have exploded. I think it's done more, and it's surpassed anyone's expectations not just for the fishermen in Alaska, but across the country. There's nothing but positive things. I'm glad to be a participant in it, and it's nice to see that fishermen can finally be seen for what they are. For years, we were almost considered a second class citizen, and I think it gives blue collar workers like ourselves the respect we deserve. Thank you.

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