In this Sept. 13, 2017, file photo, a lobster fishing boat heads out to sea at sunrise off shore from Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

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BOSTON — The federal government is extending its suspension of the requirement for at-sea monitors in some East Coast fisheries until at least the middle of the month.

Some fishing boats are required to carry workers on board who collect data about commercial fishing. They are called observers or at-sea monitors, and the data they gather helps inform federal management of fisheries.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its waiving the requirement in some Northeast fisheries until May 16. The agency waived the requirement to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

NOAA said it’s working to ensure “qualified observers or at-sea monitors are available as soon as safely possible.”