Chinese longline fishing boats will begin exploratory fishing of bigeye tuna and swordfish in the Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone before the end of the year.
The Cook Islands Marine Resources Minister Teina Bishop and Chinese fishing interests have developed a deal which will see the Cook Island's Government receive more than 660 thousand US dollars in licence revenue.
Mr Bishop says the agreement, allowing ten Chinese vessels to longline for bigeye tuna and six vessels to fish for swordfish is being finalised before the lcence issued.
He says it is the first such arrangement following the Ministry of Marine Resources' proposal for exploratory fishing over three years.
Chinese vessels and the Cook Islanders are restricted by regional catch quotas and at present, the only designated fishery in the Cook Islands is for albacore tuna.