The federal government is continuing to waive 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 in Gloucester has waived the requirement for vessels with Northeast fishing permits to carry the monitors through May 30.

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

Meanwhile, the New England Fishery Management Council is hosting a webinar public hearing on its draft groundfish monitoring amendment and has extended the public comment deadline to the end of June.

The council, which voted in April to postpone final action on draft Amendment 23 beyond its June meeting, will hold the webinar public hearing Thursday, May 21. One hearing was held May 12. If approved, the council would work with new NOAA to implement the new monitoring rules.

Thursday's session is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and individuals may register through a link on the council's website, nefmc.org.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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