Freddie Christiansen |Anchorage / Old Harbor
Commercial fisherman and activist
Freddie Christiansen has deep knowledge of, and experience in, commercial fishing, sportfish guiding and tourism, subsistence, Alaska Native nonprofit and for-profit companies, and fisheries politics. Christiansen has commercial fished all of his life – starting at age six and earning a paycheck by age nine. He grew up living a subsistence way of life in the Alutiiq village of Old Harbor, and ran a sportfishing lodge out of his home village for 15 years. He currently fishes out of the Old Harbor and Chignik areas.
Christiansen was still a child when the Limited Entry program was first implemented, but old enough to recognize the tragic effects the program had on his home community of Old Harbor. He explains, “There was a group of us boys growing up together as far back as I can remember and we all played boats. The goal was to become a skipper of a boat and captain and owner of a boat. Then 1971 rolled around, I started noticing that the implementation of limited entry was having an impact on the self-esteem and the mindset of the guys I was hanging with, including me, realizing that I'm going to have to have $30,000 to buy a permit. So the hopes and dreams of becoming a skipper of a boat, of becoming something or somebody and continuing to reside in our communities were fading fast. None of the group of nine became skippers except me. I'm not saying that I wasn't participating in self-destructive practices, too, but it just seemed that at such a young age they were doing so much of it. And it took me until I was about 25 or 30 years old to realize what really happened. I attribute to this to the implementation of limited entry. By the time I was 30, three of the boys I grew up with like brothers, best friends were dead. I really attribute it to the implementation of limited entry. I truly believe that’s what happened to them.”
Christiansen has served as a board member for the Old Harbor Native Corporation, Gulf of Alaska Coalition, Kodiak Area Native Association, Alaska Federation of Natives, Kodiak Island Housing Authority, and the Koniag Board of Directors. He also runs his own business, a development consulting company called Nuniuq Consulting, and works to promote Alaska Natives in his community and throughout Alaska.