Harris previews the addition of his big brother Shane aboard the Cornelia Marie.
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Courtesy Discovery.

Captain Josh Harris and co. return to the high seas in season 18 of Deadliest Catch, which sails back to Discovery Channel tonight with a two-hour premiere. As if treacherous conditions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic weren't enough, the captains must now confront a new obstacle to stay afloat: the Alaskan government's shutdown of red king crab catching for the season. 

Aboard F/V Cornelia Marie, Harris and his co-captain Casey McManus turn to golden king crabs, which are much tougher to fish. It's been bleak, Josh says, but he now has extra help in the form of his estranged brother, Shane. The two reconnected after the death of their father, legendary captain and series staple Phil Harris, who died in 2010 after he suffered a stroke. 

"After the old man died, we got back in touch," Josh tells EW. "The world isn't very familiar with my older brother. He was fishing for a while but he was like, 'Nah, this is stupid,' and he got his own company and was doing quite well." Somehow, Josh says, he "bamboozled" his big brother into helping out aboard, adding, "It's really hard to find good help in this day and age." 

Deadliest Catch Season 18
Captain Josh Harris in 'Deadliest Catch'
| Credit: Discovery Channel

Working together is something their late father always wanted, Shane says in the premiere episode. And while it's been 25 years since he left Dutch Harbor, he and his younger brother were able to pick up where they left off — but not without a slight switch in dynamic.

"We got to swap roles," Josh tells EW. "I became the older-younger brother. I don't know if he'll ever go crab fishing again, but it was one hell of a journey for him." And while he may not be able to "beat" Shane up or "outrun him," Josh quips, "I get to be his boss." The captain adds, "He worked his tail off. He did it. And we still talk. And he still gives me hugs, so that's a good start." 

Season 18 of Deadliest Catch returns to Discovery and Discovery+ with a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Check out our daily must-see picks — plus news, celeb interviews, trivia, and more — on EW's What to Watch podcast.

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