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Study: blue whales at risk of hitting Calif. ships

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A satellite study of blue whale movements shows the endangered creatures cluster for long periods in busy shipping lanes off the California coast, putting them at risk for collisions with large vessels.

The study, originally published in the science journal Plos One, discovered the whales seem to congregate in two particularly rich feeding areas that are crossed by shipping lanes.

Researchers led by marine mammal ecologist Ladd Irvine of Oregon State University used satellites to track 171 tagged blue whales over 15 years.

The Los Angeles Times (lat.ms/1nDfh7K) reported Sunday that previous surveys, based on whale sightings rather than satellite research, haven't revealed such a potential problem.

Shippers and shipping regulators plan to meet with researchers in the fall to discuss the findings.

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