National Marine Fisheries Service Proposal to Designate Critical Habitat for the Rice’s Whale

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has filed notice of a proposal which requires review by the MS Department of Marine Resources to ensure compliance with the state’s approved Coastal Program under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

NMFS is proposing to designate critical habitat for the Rice’s whale (Balaenoptera ricei), which is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. The proposed critical habitat area contains approximately 28,270 square miles of continental shelf and slope associated waters within the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA’s Coastal Zone Consistency certification, the proposed rule, the critical habitat report, and the map using the links below.

Any person wishing to make comments or objections to the proposed activity must submit those comments in writing to Brett James by mail at the Department of Marine Resources at 1141 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi, Mississippi 39530, by email at, or by using the form below before 1:00 p.m. on the day August 28, 2023. 

Comment Submission Form

You should receive an acknowledgement of your comment from Brett James by email. If you do not receive this acknowledgement, please contact