WASHINGTON, DC — NH Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen worked with a number of other local senators last month to make Sept. 25 National Lobster Day — a day to highlight the significant role the crustacean plays in the economies of coastal communities in New England and across the country. In 2014, over 150 million pounds of lobster were caught along the U.S. and Canadian coastlines, the economic impact estimated at approximately $5 billion.

The wire lobster trap revolutionized the lobster industry 35 years ago when New England native James Knott, Sr. founded Riverdale Mills and invented Aquamesh®, a first of its kind marine-grade welded wire mesh fabric specifically designed to create the modern lobster trap for New England lobstermen.
Most traps then were made of wood.

Other co-sponsors of the legislation included: U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut; Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut; Angus King, I-Maine; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island; and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island.

One firm that is celebrating the newly designated day is Northbridge, MA-based Riverdale Mills.
The company sent the first shipment of Aquamesh to Maine in December 1980. Over 80 percent of all lobster traps used in the U.S. are now built with Riverdale’s Aquamesh wire mesh; it is considered the industry standard material for lobster traps worldwide.

This spring, James Knott, Jr., who has worked in a variety of positions at Riverdale Mills since the early 80s, became CEO of Riverdale Mills.

A part-time Gloucester lobsterman, Knott knew wire traps would be significantly more durable than the wooden traps that quickly corroded in the harsh sea environment. He also knew they would be lighter to lift out of the water but sink faster and stay put in the water. Over several years, Knott worked to create a coating system that would protect wire from the harsh sea environment. He ultimately developed a two-step galvanizing and coating method to create wire durable enough to withstand the extreme sub-sea conditions of the Atlantic Ocean. He named the product Aquamesh.

Knott built the first wire trap using Aquamesh, headed to Gloucester and spent years walking the docks of New England to convince fishermen that wire traps were better and would hold up longer than wood traps. In 1980, Knott opened Riverdale Mills (a former textile mill), and in December of that year began delivery of Aquamesh. Traps made with Aquamesh can last 8-10 years. Traps made from wood only last a year or two.​