'Deadliest Catch': No Cornelia Marie for king crab; quota halved

Deadliest-Catch-Jake-Harris-Josh-Harris.jpg "Deadliest Catch" may have hit home runs at the recent Creative Arts Emmys-- taking home four awards, including outstanding reality program -- but when it returns in 2012 on Discovery Channel for its eighth season, one player is going to be missing from the field.

Much of the personal drama among the crab-fishing fleet on Alaska's Bering Sea in season seven came from the conflicts aboard the F/V Cornelia Marie, as part-owners and brothers Jake and Josh Harris tried to carry on the legend of their late father, Capt. Phil Harris.

During the autumn king-crab season, there was a battle royal between the brothers and Capt. Derek Ray. Then in the winter, during opilio crab season, things were more harmonious with new Capt. Tony Lara, but the financial future of the boat -- and with it, the Harris legacy -- still remained in doubt.

On Friday, Oct. 7, the fishing vessel's official Website put up a post called "Cornelia Marie in Shipyard."

According to writer and site creator Morgan Howard -- the son of Cornelia Marie Devlin, the majority owner of the boat that bears her name -- the blue-and-yellow vessel is in dry dock at Ketchikan, Alaska, where it is likely to stay for a while longer for repairs and maintenance.

Howard says Lara is overseeing the Cornelia Marie in dry dock and, once the shipyard is done with her, will take her back to Kodiak for more work.

He also says both Harris brothers will be working the upcoming king crab season, but, he Deadliest-Catch-Cornelia-Marie.jpgwrites, "just not on the CM. They are fishermen and like the rest of us, need to work to make money.

"They are both going to be deckhands on different boats for this year's opening. Thanks to some good friends in the fleet, they both have jobs this season."

Howard also gives updates on some of the other crew members and where they are working now.

With or without the Cornelia Marie, things are going to be different on the Bering Sea this year.

As Howard explains, the TAC (total allowable catch) for Bristol Bay red king crab has been cut in half, a precaution because of reduced numbers of juvenile crabs. Also, the tanner, or bairdi, crab fishery has been closed entirely due to a determination that it has been over-fished.

Click here for a report from the Alaska Dispatch.

But this may allow for a higher quota for opilio or snow crab, which is fished in January -- and there is definitely a bump up in the quota for St. Matthews blue king crab (fans may remember that the Cornelia Marie made an attempt to fish blue crab last season).

Howard reacts, writing, "Hopefully, the price is up and the fellas catch them quickly with no injuries."

It's early days, and there is no official announcement yet from Original Productions about which fisherman and boats will be included in the new "Deadliest" season, but we do know that there will continue to be a Harris presence on the Bering Sea when the fleet heads out later this month.
Photo/Video credit: Discovery