The Nova Scotia government has decided to say no to two bidders and keep looking for a company interested in setting up a new ferry in Yarmouth, N.S.

The proposals were submitted in January by Quest Navigation Inc. of Eliot, Maine and Maritime Applied Physics Corp, a Baltimore-based engineering firm.

After studying the two bids, the province said neither met the minimum criteria.

Economic Development Minister Percy Paris said he will appoint a group of tourism, community and business leaders to find ways to grow tourism in the southwest.

Paris says the government is not giving up on finding a new ferry in Yarmouth.

He said he’d like to see a ferry in place by next year.

The ferry's former operator, Bay Ferries Ltd., announced in December 2009 that it would cancel the money-losing service after the Nova Scotia government said it could no longer provide an annual $6-million subsidy.

Paris said the government is still willing to put up to $21 million dollars into a new business but only if it turns into a money maker.

He said the government will launch a new procurement process with the hopes of a 2014 start date.

with files from the Canadian Press