NORTHBRIDGE, MA – The history of Riverdale Mills is a story much akin to the legacy of Maine fishermen: one of passion and perseverance, the company said, in announcing its 40th anniversary.

“We exist – have always existed – to help lobstermen lobster better,” said Riverdale Mills CEO Jim Knott.

When the company opened its doors for the first time back in 1980, the US manufacturing sector was struggling to recover from two recessions. Not a great time to be launching a new business.

But the Knott family had a plan.

They, led by the late James Knott Sr., believed the introduction of one new element could shift the tide of the marine industry and ensure their success.

Riverdale revolutionized the lobster fishing industry by convincing lobster fishermen to switch from wooden traps to those made with Aquamesh®, Riverdale’s first-of-its-kind, marine wire mesh designed to withstand the harsh ocean environment.

As Riverdale celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, the company reports that over 80% of all lobster traps built in North America are made with Aquamesh®, and the mesh is now used around the globe.

But all of the company’s welded wire mesh products are still made in the US.

While the company’s roots are firmly planted in lobstering, Riverdale also serves the burgeoning aquaculture market.

Oyster farmers, including a diverse group of young aquafarmers and seasoned lobstermen looking to diversify, have adopted the use of Aquamesh® to build off-bottom oyster cages.

While pale by lobstering standards, this is a growing market. In 2018, Maine’s total oyster landings were valued at an all-time high of $7.2 million, the company noted.

Environmental stewardship is also a core principle on which Riverdale Mills was founded.

The company currently operates dozens of large industrial machines some 150 hours each week. Achieving maximum energy efficiencies is not easy, but Jim Knott believes eco-friendly and energy efficient manufacturing is right for the planet and essential for the safety and sustainability of the company and the community in which they operate.

“As we celebrate 40 years in business, we are thinking about the relationships we have built with our most valued and loyal customers – the local fishermen and women,” Knott said.

“We are incredibly honored to be a part of this dynamic industry and wish everyone good health during these challenging times.”

Riverdale Mills was deemed an “essential business” by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker because its wire mesh is considered critical to fishermen and marine industries and the company remains open for business.