Unsupported Browser Detected

Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Announcement of Rescheduled Public Hearing Date and Extension of Public Comment Period for the Proposed Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for Endangered Rice's Whales

September 13, 2023

FB23-062: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact: Grant Baysinger: (727) 551-5790; grant.baysinger@noaa.gov

Key Message:

NOAA Fisheries will hold a virtual public hearing and extend the public comment period related to the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the endangered Rice’s whale under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).



Supplemental Information:

On July 24, 2023, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the endangered Rice’s whale under the ESA. In that document, we also

  • opened a 60-day public comment period that closes on September 22, 2023,
  • announced two virtual public hearings to be held on August 24, 2023 and August 30, 2023, and an option to request an additional public hearing.


On August 28, 2023, we canceled the August 30, 2023 public hearing due to Hurricane Idalia’s expected landfall. We have rescheduled that public hearing for September 28, 2023. We have also extended the comment period to October 6, 2023, to allow time for submission of any additional public comment following this rescheduled hearing.


Public Hearing:

The rescheduled public hearing on the proposed rule will be held online on September 28, 2023, from 3:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). NOAA Fisheries will give a short presentation followed by a brief opportunity to ask clarifying questions before accepting public comment testimony for the record. The remaining time will be for public comment. We will limit each speaker’s time to ensure the participants all have an opportunity to speak during the hearing.  If you wish to make a public comment during the hearing, you will have up to 3 minutes to do so.


How to Comment On the Proposed Rule:

The comment period will be extended through October 6, 2023. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail.  Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.


Formal Federal Register Name/Number: 88 FR 47453, published July 24, 2023


Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. 

1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/document/NOAA-NMFS-2023-0028-0001.

2. Click on the “Comment” icon and complete the required fields.

3. Enter or attach your comments.


Mail: Submit written comments to Grant Baysinger, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.


How to find more information on the proposed rule:

The proposed rule, Endangered Species Act Critical Habitat Report, GIS data, and maps that were prepared to support the development of the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Rice’s whale may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Website here.  


Contact: Grant Baysinger at NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

 By Mail:

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

Protected Resources Division

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By Phone: (727) 551-5790

Sign Up for Text Message Alerts - Find Out About Immediate Openings and Closures

NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery-related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.


Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly


Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777


Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office


Permits Mailbox: The Permits Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, now has a Permits mailbox in the front lobby (263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701). You can now drop off original permits for permit transfers.  Envelopes with information labels will be provided so that your documents can be attached to the correct application.  The mailbox will be checked daily.  For more information, contact the Permits Office at 877-376-4877.

Media Contact: Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750

Recreational Fishing Coordinator: Sean Meehan, 727-385-5202

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on February 07, 2024

Critical Habitat