Hashtag hot water: CCA photobombs XtraTuf booth

Most of us understand the value of face-to-face events like trade shows and conferences. But combine that with social media, and a company can find themselves in hot water quickly.

On Tuesday, an Instagram post from Wanchese Trawl caused quite the kerfuffle in some West Coast fishing groups. The shot was of an XtraTuf sales representative in an XtraTuf trade show booth with his arm around a representative from Fred Hall Shows who was holding a sign that read: I Support CCA Cal JOIN TODAY.

Well if you are a commercial fisherman, you probably know exactly how well the Coastal Conservation Association plays with the fishing industry. Hint: Not very.

The Wanchese Trawl post encouraged commercial fishermen to “Go ahead and spread the word, share within your networks, let Xtratuf know we have a voice!”

That they did, and XtraTuf has responded far and wide.

“XtraTuf has no formal relationship with the CCA and has never donated money to the organization. We’re committed to the commercial fishing community and making the best product possible for those who make a living on the water,” wrote David Mesicek in response to my request to speak with someone at the company.

I asked the company to respond specifically to this photo, but they replied that they could not because they had not posted the image.

Fishermen who wrote to the company received a formal but more detailed response, including the company’s commitment to the industry as well as an explanation of what happened in this particular image:

“The CCA took a photo at the Fred Hall consumer show in Long Beach at not just our booth, but dozens of other brands’ booths, which they then posted online. We did not endorse the use of this photo or the organization, and we apologize for any confusion it has caused.”

David Mesicek can be reached at (508) 649-3525 or david.mesicek@honeywell.com.

I encourage anyone who reaches out to XtraTuf to speak out against any potential partnership with the CCA to be calm but clear that you are a commercial fisherman and that the CCA threatens your livelihood. It does not help your cause to accuse a company of an unproven endorsement.

I appreciate XtraTuf’s clarity in standing with the industry. I hope this will help inform other suppliers of commercial gear of the risks of associating with any organization that makes express efforts to take fishing rights away from commercial fishermen.

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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