01/08/2016 13:47 EST | Updated 01/08/2017 00:12 EST

Manitoba releases plan to conserve world's biggest beluga population

WINNIPEG — Manitoba has released a plan to preserve the world's largest population of beluga whales.

Nearly 60,000 of the medium-sized white whales with the characteristic smiley face live where the Churchill, Nelson and Seal rivers flow into Hudson Bay.

The plan calls for protecting coastline as well as managing traffic and other operations at the Port of Churchill.

It would require the federal government to protect the ocean off those shores and support for research on the little-studied population.

The plan has been released for consultation with business, environmental and indigenous stakeholders.

Manitoba Conservation Minister Tom Nevakshonoff says he's hoping to get a conservation plan approved while the belugas are still doing well.



The Canadian Press

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