Aquaculture North America

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Riverdale Mills celebrates 40 years in business


July 20, 2020
By ANA staff

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Aquamesh oyster cages (Photo: Riverdale Mills)

Riverdale Mills, based in Northbridge, Mass., has had its ebbs and flows over the years, but creative thinking, and a thirst for discovery have kept them flourishing. The company is a microcosm of the challenges and excitement surrounding the fishing and aquaculture industries.

In 1980, the Knott Family 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. Today, over 80 percent of lobster traps made in North America are made with Aquamesh.

The success of Aquamesh naturally spawned new applications for the wire mesh. With the culture and landscape of coastal fishing zones changing, a diverse group of aquafarmers – including former lobster fishermen and women still hoping to earn their living from the sea – adopted the mesh to build off-bottom, floating oyster cages to suspend and tumble their oysters just below the surface of the ocean, where the water is warm and the oyster’s food source is more plentiful.

Riverdale is also supplying the mesh covering for experimental fish farms called Aquapods – geodesic globes in development as a sustainable alternative to deep sea fishing.

“As we celebrate 40 years in business, we are thinking about the relationships we have built with our most valued and loyal customers: the fishermen and women of North America,” said Riverdale CEO Jim Knott, Jr. “We are incredibly honored to be a part of their dynamic and sustainable industries.”