'Deadliest Catch' captain opens 39th annual Fishermen's Forum
Rockport — The 39th annual Maine Fishermen's Forum opened Feb. 27 at the Samoset Resort.
The event that typically has a variety of vendors, seminars and exhibits features a special guest this year — Capt. Keith Colburn from the Discovery Channel's series "Deadliest Catch."
Colburn held an open discussion with audience member participation. He explained how he started in the bilge pump room and worked his way up from there. He said the show's success is mainly due to two factors: one, people are in confined spaces where emotions tend to flare at times; and two, it is all under the worst weather conditions possible.
"That makes for great television," Colburn joked.
Only three years after arriving in Alaska from Lake Tahoe, Colburn became a full-share deckhand on the F/V Wizard — a 155-foot Bering Sea crabber. He earned his U.S. Coast Guard license in 1990 and "moved from the deck to the pilothouse," according to his biography.
After receiving his captain's license in 1992, Colburn remained there as the skipper until 2002, when he purchased another crabber — the Sirene. After selling that boat in a government-run fleet reduction program, Colburn secured his stake in the crabbing industry by purchasing the Wizard.
Colburn's attendance at this year's forum is no coincidence. Gerry Cushman, a Port Clyde fisherman and member of the forum board, met the captain last summer during Colburn's bicycle trek through Maine.
According to the Commercial Fisheries News, Colburn went lobstering with Gerry's brother Randy Cushman, and "took part in a sizable lobster feed with, well, pretty much the whole Port Clyde community." Cushman noted in the News that Colburn is "friendly, genuinely interested in New England fisheries, and looking forward to the visit."
The three-day forum will have more than 40 seminars along with a trade show featuring 120 exhibitors.
For more information on the Maine Fishermen's Forum, visit mainefishermensforum.org.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at email@example.com.