'Deadliest Catch' stars host fundraiser for Japan tsunami relief - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

'Deadliest Catch' stars host fundraiser for Japan tsunami relief

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fishermen around the world felt sadness for the fishing villages in Japan that were wiped out by the earthquake and tsunami. On Sunday, some of the biggest stars in the industry held a fundraiser on Oahu to try to help with Japan's recovery.

If you've heard of "Sig" and "Wild Bill" -- and you know what the "Wizard" and "Time Bandit" are -- chances are you're a huge fan of the cable reality show "Deadliest Catch." The TV crew was in Hawaii taping a show called "After the Catch" when the idea for an autograph session/fundraiser was born.

Normally surrounded by the frigid waters of the Bering Sea, the captains of the crab fishing vessels featured on the hit TV series "Deadliest Catch" ate up the warm Hawaiian welcome.

"Today, I'm flabbergasted," Sig Hansen, Northwestern captain, said. "I never would have thought so many people would come out to see a bunch of fishermen."

But organizers of the fundraiser believed they would.

The Discovery Channel and Nico's at Pier 38 teamed up for the event to help the fishing villages in Japan that were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.

"We live on the water in Hawaii. I feel for these villages of fishermen," Nico Chaize, Nico's owner, said. "They really suffer. All the community go down is really, really sad."

Event organizers say in the Fukushima area, some 1,800 fishing vessels were destroyed or heavily damaged.

"Deadliest Catch" captains say the Alaskan and Japanese fishing communities are very close.

"The majority of our product goes to Japan," Hansen said. "They're a very large buyer and supporter of the Alaskan crab fishery, so we need to give back."

Each fan was asked to make a minimum $10 donation. Nico's made enough poke for 1,000 people.

"The people are having a good time," Hansen said. "I'm having a good time. That's what it's all about, and we're raising money for the right cause."

According to initial estimates, the event drew about 600 people and raised about $6,000.

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