Back in 1983 when I first started working on an oyster farm, I was tasked with dipping chicken wire and galvanized hardware cloth in Flexibar dip, trying to get two years out of the wire before it rusted through. A few years later when I started my own farm, I was happy to see that vinyl-coated pot wire was readily available. The development of vinyl-coated wire and extruded-plastic mesh bags and netting ushered in an explosion of oyster aquaculture that continues to this day.

Here in the U.S. the top producer of vinyl-coated, marine-grade wire has always been Riverdale Mills. James Knott, Sr., founded the company in 1979 in Northbridge, Mass., not far from the borders of Connecticut and Rhode Island. He delivered his first load of Aquamesh® to a lobster-pot maker in Maine in 1980. Today the Knott family employs more than 150 people, selling Aquamesh® to clients all over the world.

Aquamesh® has always had a great reputation for quality and durability – their process of galvanizing the wire after welding, and then vinyl-coating the wire makes all the difference. Some wire makers weld pre-galvanized wire to make their mesh, but this burns off the zinc at the weld, making it susceptible to corrosion. Riverdale has always welded the wire first, then they hot-dip-zinc galvanize the mesh before coating it with a PVC formulation designed for marine use. Knott is proud of how well Aquamesh® stands up in seawater, whether it is used on a lobster pot or an oyster cage.

Back in the 1980s we had few choices of mesh size, mostly just what was being used by the lobster fishery. Now Riverdale produces a wide variety of mesh sizes with different wire gauges and even different PVC colors.

Durable and versatile, I have seen Aquamesh® used in seed sorters, grow-out trays, OysterGro® floats and a wide variety of bottom cages. Just about anything growers can dream up has been made from Aquamesh®. You can buy fabricated cages or baskets from several of the gear distributors advertising in this issue. It’s also possible to purchase rolls of wire or precut flat wire panels and fabricate your own gear using cutters, benders and clip guns – all readily available from gear dealers.

Aquamesh® is available from distributors across North America. Visit or call (800) 762-6374 for more info.