In this Jan. 6, 2012, file photo, gulls follow a shrimp fishing boat as crewmen haul in their catch in the Gulf of Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

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

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

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it’s waiving the requirement in some Northeast fisheries until May 2. The agency waived the requirement to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

NOAA called the monitors “an essential component of commercial fishing and operations” and said it would continue to keep a close eye on the situation.