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THE OF SALMON AND TROUT WATERS BY THE  
«VIBERT SYSTEM» BIODEGRADABLE

Since 1920, very good results in the restocking of salmon and trout rivers in Canada and the united states of America have been obtained by the incubation of eyed ova in the « Harrison » box. It was used extensively by Foerster in his experiments on the pacific coast and produced approximately the same yield of adult fish as was obtained from natural reproduction or by the liberation of fry. The main disadvantages of the box are the labour of charging the container with gravel and ova, and in its manipulation, as four men are needed to carry it.

boite Vibert Biodégradable
(Click to enlarge & zoom)

Bearing in mind the principles of the Harrisson system, Dr. Richard Vibert devised in 1949 an improved method of restocking by incubating eyed ova in a small, specially shaped biodegradable box, slotted for the escape of alevin.

Now in 2009, more than 1 500 000 Vibert Boxes were used in France and in other countries. With some modifications a Schachtel Vibert Box appeared in Germany and a Whitlock Vibert Box appeared in the United States. The most simple remains however the original Vibert Box, and iot was mainly thanks to it that the salmon stock restoration of the Rheidol River was obtained in Great Britain.

 

MAIN ADVANTAGES OF THE «VIBERT BOX»

1. It is extremely light and contains nothing but the ova, packed together as in the natural redd.

2. It gross weight is 1 ½ ozs., thus enabling many boxes to be transported and immersed with ease by one person.

3. Every small area of suitable gravel may be seeded and no elaborate hatchery troughs need to be constructed.

4. The system is cheaper than any other to operate and in consequence is suitable for any project from the smallest private undertaking to the largest scale restocking.

5. The ova are not handled and damage is impossible, whilst fungus infection either from shells or dead ova is reduced to a minimum.

6. Fry hatched by the Vibert method are stronger, heavier and hardier than artificially reared fry and the survival rate from alevin to the adult fish is greatly enhanced, as the fish are acclimatized to their natural habitat from the very beginning. The environment is completely respected thanks to the biodegradability of the “Vibert Box” which process begins 3 or 4 weeks after is immerged under the water and according to the temperature.

 

USE OF THE «VIBERT BOX»

The boxes may be purchased already packed with selected ova from a reputable hatchery or ova may be inserted prior to use from any available stocks of good quality eyed ova (about 1 000 trout or 700 salmon ova may be put in each box). The contents when supplied by a hatchery may be easily checked on receipt and no more than a few eggs should be seen. The boxes are ready for seeding immediately, but if adverse river conditions are encountered, they can be stacked one on top of the other covered all over with damp moss to exclude all light (thereby minimizing fungus infection) and sprinkled if possible with crushed ice to provide moisture and to keep the temperature low enough to retard the development of the embryo fish. During the actual transportation to the river (say, in a fishing creel) the boxes must be kept covered with the moss and ice and shielded from cold winds to prevent the ova from freezing.

The immersion should be made in the river at points where the water is clear and the current swift enough (roughly 1 foot per second). The bottom should be clean gravel between the size of a hazel nut and a hen’s egg. At selected points enter the water and with a pick dig a hole in the gravel bed deeper than the size of the box. Allow the water to carry away small particles and sand and aim top provide a cache large enough to ensure clean gravel all around the box. After all sediment has drifted away, place the box in position and cover it first with a few of the larger stones in order to create empty spaces against the sides of the box to facilitate the exit of the progeny. The hole should then be filled in with the smaller gravel until the original level of the river bed is reached (figure 1).

boite Vibert - figure 1(1)

 

This upper layer of smaller gravel prevents predators from reaching the « redd » and ensures the ova are in complete darkness. The above method is also suitable for half-swift water where ripples are evident. Figure 1 illustrates this type of “redd” and shows clearly the grading of the gravel from the top to bottom. The total depth of the covering should be between 8 inches and 1 foot.
In rivers of the chalk-stream type with relatively slow current, good results have been obtained by placing the box in a hillock of gravel immediately above a weed bed, into which the fry can escape after leaving the shelter of the mound (Figure 2)

boite Vibert - figure 2(2)

 

If the current is strong enough to disturb such a hillock of gravel, this one can be strengthened by putting gravel inside of a gabion or any container of this kind (Figure 3).

boite Vibert - figure 3(3)

Where silting is important, greater success will be achieved by the introduction of yearlings or larger sized fish.

 

GENERAL OBSERVATION

Always remember that the sitting of the Vibert boxes must be planned before you have the boxes ready for sowing. This work should be carried out at any time during the year and the selected sites either mapped or marked.
Always remember the four cardinal requirements:

(A) A current on the box
(B) The boxes are filled in order to avoid the water current to move the eggs.
(C) The placing of the box in complete darkness
(D) The avoidance of silting.

Given these four factors and with careful and intelligent making of the “redds” hatching percentages as high as 100 can be obtained. If conditions are not ideal, results in proportion to the ingenuity displayed in overcoming the difficulties may be expected.

 

OBSERVATION OF RESULTS

The self-locking lid of the Vibert box prevents the content being tampered with once the box has been sealed. It also ensures that controlled results may be obtained by recovery of a proportion of the boxes after hatching. In this way hatches may be accurately assessed and a check made of the quality of the ova sown, of the correctness of the siting and other data. This recovery may be made between four to ten weeks after planting depending on the temperature of the water. If observation of the Alvin is desired, this can be done with a glass bottomed box (Figure 4).

boite Vibert - figure 4(4)

These boxes, designated and created in France by Dr. R. Vibert, are distributed by COFA.

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