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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Study group alarmed by low calving rates for blue whale in Gulf of St. Lawrence

HALIFAX - The Sierra Club Canada says a study of the blue whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence indicates alarmingly low calving rates for the endangered species.

The organization says the non-profit Mingan Island Cetacean Study has followed blue whale populations in eastern Canada, the Sea of Cortez and in the waters of Iceland for the past 35 years and has identified 475 individual whales.

The study says that population has only produced 22 calves.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans estimate there are fewer than 250 adult blue whales left in the northwest Atlantic population today.

Mingan group founder Richard Sears says female blue whales can calve every two years if external factors allow and adds the exact cause for the low reproduction rate found in the study remains a mystery.

The Sierra Club recently launched a campaign to safeguard the blue whale's habitat in the Gulf.

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