The US National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing to designate a certain area in the Gulf of Mexico as a “critical habitat” for the endangered Rice’s whale.
Specifically, NMFS wants to designate “waters from the 100 meter (m) isobath to the 400 m isobath in the Gulf of Mexico (GOMx), pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” according to a government notice, which adds:
“We have considered economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of the proposed designation. We are not excluding any particular area from the critical habitat designation. We seek comments on all aspects of the proposed critical habitat designation and will consider information received before issuing a final designation.”
NMFS will hold virtual public hearings will be held on August 24th, 2023, and August 30th, 2023, according to the notice. Any requests for additional public hearings have to be made in writing by September 7th, 2023.
Public written comments are due by September 22nd, 2023.
Check out the full notice here.