In this Friday, March 11, 2016 file photo, fishing boats are tied up at a wharf on the waterfront in Portland, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

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PORTLAND, Maine — An arm of the federal government is temporarily waiving the need for some fishing vessels to carry at-sea monitors.

At-sea monitors and fishery observers collect data on board fishing boats that help inform the management of U.S. fisheries. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office has waived the requirement for vessels with Northeast fishing permits to carry the monitors through April 4.

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NOAA said additional extensions would be evaluated every week. The rule change is one of the emergency measures NOAA is using to address fishery observer coverage during the coronavirus outbreak, the agency said.

NOAA said in a statement that the health and well-being of “fishermen, observers and supporting staff is not only a human health concern, but also essential to securing our nation’s seafood production.”

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