Months ago, the stars of Discovery Channel's hit series "Deadliest Catch" planned to start filming in New Orleans for a five-episode companion series called "After the Catch".

The idea was to spotlight the city's rich fishing culture — as well as honor Phil Harris, the popular captain who passed away last February from a stroke.

That all changed in late April when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, ripping open a pipe that has, to date, allowed an estimated 109 million gallons of oil to pollute the Gulf.

“We were in Plaquemines Parish, 50 miles from the spill, the local fishermen took us out, and what we found was horrific,” Captain Keith Colburn told The Daily Beast. “There were miles and miles of boom laid out, and everywhere we looked, there were 10 to 15 feet of just nasty, goopy soup and peanut-butter-colored tar … all over everything. Plus there was a secondary sheen on the water that was more viscous. It’s devastating … As we were going out, we were seeing fish jumping, seeing pelicans sitting on pylons. Their environment is just collapsing and they’re not even aware of it.”

Now, in addition to profiling the lives of fishermen in the Gulf, "Deadliest Catch" and Discovery are also showing firsthand how the spill is impacting them.

“We’re not down here to create a spectacle,” Colburn said. “We’re down here to, one, film a show. But, two, while we’re here, we’ll try and step up and do anything we can for the local community.”

Earlier this week, the show put on a fundraiser for shrimpers in Plaquemines Parish, a region that’s been hard hit by the spill.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fisherman based on the East Coast, the Gulf, out West, or even Australia,” Colburn said. “We have a common bond. We all fish for a living, and we all have a thread that holds us together as fishermen, that connects us to the water and the environment."

"After the Catch" premieres on June 15.

via The Daily Beast

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Deadliest Catch' stars throw spotlight on Gulf oil spill
Discovery's hit series films impact of oil disaster on fisherman in Louisiana.