The transport minister has pressed the European Commission to relax restrictions on the length of contracts the Scottish Government can award ferry operators.
Keith Brown has argued that current restrictions are too long and claims the contract limit of six years causes uncertainty for communities which are affected by the tendering process.
The Scottish Government announced last month that work was under way to procure the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract.
A new three-year interim contract will be put in place with the existing operator, CalMac, during the procurement exercise.
Mr Brown said: "I have raised it again with the European Commission on the restriction currently in place which limits the award of any ferry contract to a maximum of six years. I believe that they clearly understood our concerns.
"I believe the contract limit causes extra uncertainty for those communities and businesses that are affected by tendering and re-tendering of contracts over short periods of time. People's jobs and livelihoods are at stake and I would wish to look at alternative options to minimise those concerns. I also believe the limit is inappropriate for the ferry sector.
"Ferries typically have a working life of around 25 to 30 years, while ports and harbours longer still at 40 to 50 years. Ferry companies are unlikely to invest in new vessels or port and harbour infrastructure, as they are unable to fund those investments from short contracts.
"This results in the Scottish Government paying for vessels to charter to operators which in turn removes the possibility of ferry companies competing for contracts on the basis of incentives like innovative ship design, greener and cleaner vessels, and vessels which are more reliable in severe weather. If ferry companies are not incentivised to invest and innovate, ferry users are ultimately affected by the services which are delivered."