PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Federal officials have denied a request to slow down boats and ships in the Gulf of Mexico.

Several environmental groups filed a petition for a “vessel slowdown zone” to protect the endangered Rice’s whale.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said they denied the petition because they’re focusing on other conservation actions to protect the whales.

Critics said it would have a negative economic impact on ports across the Gulf Coast including ports in Mobile and Pensacola.