Long-term growth and development for The Bahamas can be achieved through the maritime sector Minister of the Environment Earl Deveaux told key players attending [The Bahamas International Maritime Conference and Trade Show](http://www.bahamasinternationalmaritimeconference.com) (BIMCATS), that was held in Freeport, Grand Bahama from February 9 to 12.

*”The Bahamas, and in particular Grand Bahama, serves as a key maritime centre in the region,”* the Minister said. *”Grand Bahama, strategically located in the major shipping lanes, has the necessary framework to permit and facilitate long-term growth and development of the maritime sector. We seek to achieve growth within a planned national development plan which requires responsible environmental practices,”* he said.

The Minister added *”We do not take our position in maritime affairs for granted. We appreciate the importance of stimulating further interest in the world-class services we offer. This conference offers a key platform for important discussions regarding the industry and it is our hope that it will serve as a springboard to the exploration of new frontiers in this important industry in the years ahead.”*

He also pledged his commitment to creating a long-awaited yacht registry.

In keeping with the theme of the conference – The Maritime Sector and the Environment – the Minister said: *”It is essential environmentally sensitive policies are implemented and relevant legislation remains current for the conservation and rehabilitation of marine habitats.*

*”These guiding principles will frame our decisions as we broaden the base of our International Ship Register and build an impressive register of yachts.*

*”Our goal is to ensure sustainable economic progress, especially with respect to our chief industry, tourism. We are focusing, therefore, on attracting owners of small and large quality vessels.”*

Wendy Warren, CEO and Executive Director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), a sponsor of the conference, said there is an emerging synergy between the financial services and maritime industries and that both should continue to look for opportunities to leverage mutual business opportunities.

Ian Fair, Chairman of the Bahamas Maritime Authority, said BIMCATS would return next year, and after that be held every two years to alternate with Posidonia, the major shipping conference held in Greece,