THE first day of the European Maritime Day conference took place yesterday with around 1,000 delegates drawn to the Lighthouse.

One of the largest maritime events in Europe, the prestigious two-day conference continues today to address the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy promoting economic growth, skills, technological innovation, environmental concerns and sustainability across Europe.

Opening the day was the Rt Hon John Hayes CBE - minister for shipping of the UK. It is the first time the event has been held in the UK.

Leader of Borough of Poole, councillor Janet Walton said: “Over the last 10 years, European Maritime Day has tackled various key themes such as maritime policy, innovation, sustainable growth and investment. It seems fitting that with a changing political landscape, environmental challenges and budgetary pressures, this year’s theme is ‘The Future of our Seas’.”

There were also speeches from Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries and campaign director Barbara Jackson.

It has formed part of the Poole Maritime Festival which continues into this weekend.

The History of Poole Maritime in 30 Minutes Flat Show will be performed at various locations until Sunday containing Vikings, pirates, and the D-Day landings.

Tomorrow Valise Noise Storytelling Theatre present CARGO - an outdoor performance bringing The Great Quay to life.

From today until Sunday the Poole Harbour Boat Show, organised by Poole Harbour Commissioners in association with Sunseeker, promises to be even bigger than previous years, featuring more than 200 exhibitors showcasing sail and motorboats of all sizes.

This year’s Seven Seas Festival features live entertainment and the Poole Harbour Big Wheel at Harbourside Park until Sunday.

And new to this year is the Taste of the South event, organised by Route PR. Based at Poole Park the event promises food, produce stalls, cookery demonstrations as well as maritime-themed children’s activities.