The history of Riverdale Mills is a story of passion and perseverance.

As the company opened its doors for the first time in 1980, U.S. manufacturing had yet to recover from two recessions and many doubted the future of the sector.

The Knott family believed otherwise and insisted the introduction of one new element could shift the tide of an industry. They transformed the lobster fishing industry when they convinced 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.

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

As Riverdale celebrates its 40th anniversary, over 80 per cent of lobster traps made in North America are made with Aquamesh® and the mesh is used around the globe.

The success of Aquamesh® naturally spawned new applications for the wire mesh. Oyster farmers adopted the use of the mesh to build off-bottom oyster cages, a system of wire cages floating on pontoons that suspend the oysters just below the surface of the ocean where the water is warm and the oyster’s food source is more plentiful.

It is an ideal system, particularly in the northeast, that allows oysters to fully mature in half the expected growth time of seven years.

The off-bottom oyster industry now employs a diverse group of aquafarmers – from young generations to seasoned lobstermen and women who still yearn to earn their living from the sea without the challenges and unpredictability of fishing on the open ocean.

In addition to innovation, environmental stewardship is a core principle on which Riverdale Mills was founded. The company operates dozens of large industrial machines 150 hours a week.

Achieving maximum energy efficiencies is not easy, but 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. We are incredibly honoured to be a part of this dynamic industry.”

During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Riverdale Mills was recently deemed an essential business by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker because its wire mesh was critical to the marine industry. The company remains open for business and all of its wire mesh is made in its Massachusetts (U.S.) manufacturing plant.