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Whale preservation urged at New Bedford meeting

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NEW BEDFORD (AP) — Whale experts say shipping speed limits credited with preserving what's left of the small North Atlantic right whale population must be extended.

The Standard Times (http://bit.ly/WZpCbW ) reports that the environmental group Whale and Dolphin Conservation called together a panel of five experts Sunday in New Bedford to discuss the organization's new campaign to raise public awareness for the sea mammals.

The federal Right Whale Speed Reduction Rule was put in place four years ago to protect the animals by restricting commercial shipping vessels to 10 knots in the whales' habitat. The rule expires Dec. 9, 2013. The WDC kicked off its campaign to create public pressure on the government, which has not said whether it will renew the rule.

There are only about 500 of the whales left.

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Information from: The (New Bedford, Mass.) Standard-Times, http://www.southcoasttoday.com

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