The proposed fisheries partnership agreement between the Cook Islands and the European Union has been put on hold.
The Prime Minister Henry Puna has suspended public consultations on the proposed agreement for European purse seine boats to fish in Cook Islands waters, due to what he says is a need for further regional consultations.
Mr Puna's advisor Trevor Pitt has told the Cook Islands News that he will need to seek expert advice before the proposed deal can be discussed at public meetings.
The initial details of the deal include access for four Spanish purse seiners to fish up to 7,000 tonnes per year, as part of a financial package totalling seven million US dollars over four years.
In addition to payment for accessing fish stocks in the Cook Islands exclusive economic zone, an equal 'policy support payment' will be made by the EU and spent on a surveillance centre to combat illegal fishing and to provide a fuel subsidy scheme to assist local fishers.