June 17, 2013

Dispatches

AUGUSTA

Volunteers sought to search for brook trout

Volunteer anglers are being sought to survey remote ponds and lakes around Maine in search of brook trout.

The brook trout pond survey project is a collaborative effort of Trout Unlimited, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Audubon to gather data on ponds in remote areas of northern, western and eastern Maine that are potentially inhabited by trout.

Now in its third year, the project aims to identity previously undocumented wild brook trout populations.

So far, volunteers have surveyed 161 ponds out of more than 400 that have been identified for the project. Of those, trout have been found in 35 of them.

Project organizers say Maine is home to 97 percent of all wild or native brook trout lakes and ponds in the country, and that the state has been designated as the last true stronghold for wild brook trout in the eastern U.S.

But the full extent of the Maine's trout population isn't known because there are hundreds of lakes and ponds that haven't been surveyed by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

Since there are no records of those ponds ever being stocked with trout, any brook trout found in them are native wild fish.

More information and survey forms can be found at www.tumaine.org/brooktrout.htm.

Maine tops list for oldest median population age

Newly released census figures show Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire have the highest median ages in the country.

Maine's Office of Policy and Management says Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday show that Maine's median age was 43.5 years last year, up from 43.2 years in 2011. That's more than six years older than the U.S. median age of 37.4 years.

Vermont had the second-highest median age, at 42.3 years. New Hampshire was third, with a median age of 42.

Utah was the youngest state, with a median age of 29.9 years.

Officials say among Maine counties, Lincoln is the oldest with a median age of 49.4 years. Androscoggin County was the youngest, at 40.5 years.

ROCKLAND

Lobster boat racing season opens at two locations

Maine lobstermen competed over the weekend for cash, prizes and bragging rights as the annual lobster boat racing season gets under way.

The season's first races were held Saturday at Boothbay Harbor. Fishermen were back at it Sunday with more races in Rockland.

Lobster boat racing dates back to the early 1900s, with modern-day races dating back to the 1960s.

The races are action-packed contests where the fastest of the souped-up boats reach speeds of more than 60 mph, leaving roostertails in their wakes as spectators watch from shore and on boats that crowd the race course.

Additional races were planned for Bass Harbor, Jonesport, Long Island, Searsport, Stonington, Friendship, Harpswell, Winter Harbor, Pemaquid, Portland and Eastport.

-- From news service reports

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