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Posted 21 November 08

 

EU Recognises Bee Threat

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Plight of bees threatens food production say MEPs

Immediate action is required to tackle the drastic decline in bee colonies throughout and the rest of the world, say MEPs. The decline in the number of bees poses a threat not just to honey production but to the pollination of plants and hence to food production. Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday pressing the Commission to take action.

The resolution, adopted by 485 votes in favour to 13 votes against with 5 abstentions, calls on the Commission to use the CA Health Check to put in lace measures encouraging the creation of ecological recovery zones in arts of fields that are difficult to cultivate.

Extensive research needed

MEPs call on the Commission to immediately step up further research into the parasites and diseases as well as other potential causes such as erosion of genetic diversity and cultivation of genetically modified crops decimating the bee population, while making additional budgetary resources available for this research.

Research is also needed to establish whether there is a link between the use of pesticides, such as thiamethoxam, imidacloprid, clothianidin and fipronil, on bee mortality, say MEPs.

Finance package for beekeepers in difficulty

Parliament urges the Commission to propose a financial aid mechanism should also be provided for beekeepers in difficulty, and ask that Member States bring forward "immediate support" for the beekeeping sector.

Action on imported apiculture products

In response to apiculture products imported into the EU, MEPs consider that action should be taken to tackle unfair competition from products originating in third countries and that imported honey should be analysed to detect the possible presence of American foulbrood bacteria, a disease that affects honey bees.

Future legislation on bees

The House calls on the Commission and the Council to give due consideration to the health of bees, the possibilities for marketing bee products and the economic impact on the beekeeping sector in all discussions and future legislative steps concerning the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the European Union.

Worrying facts

A report in National Geographic published a few years ago stated that bee numbers had dropped by u to 50%. Three quarters of food production (76%) is dependent on bees and 84% of vegetables grown in Europe depend on pollination.

The threat to bees comes partly from the use of modified and treated seed, which has led to a reduction in pollen and nectar, and partly from the reduction in agricultural set-aside land.

This message brought to you by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping www.BeeCulture.com

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European Parliament will strengthen their efforts on behalf of bees:

If bees disappear, then the future of all farm crops, and market garden crops, in severe jeopardy as food crops will not be pollinated! This was the reasoning behind a question, and answer session in the European Parliament on 19 November 2008. The Chairman of the EU Parliaments Agricultural Committee Neil Parish (MEP UK) started the discussions by outlining the actual problems facing European Beekeepers. The European Parliament has instructed the EU Commission to dramatically increase financing of research in the area, and into the reason for the death of bees. The European Parliament also decided that it was necessary to give financial support to the beekeepers hit by the disaster. They also decided that it was necessary to mark honey being sold with the country of origin, and that competition for the sale of honey from countries outside of the EU should be prevented.

 

The EU Commissioner Janez Potocnik (Science & Research) underlined that The European Commission are well aware of the importance of Honey Bees also the effects that the big losses of bees in EU member countries is having. He said the EU Commission its self has already taken steps and initiatives to help beekeepers with their problems. We believe that the EU Commissions plan of action is well thought out, and constructed to help bees and beekeepers. It is now up to the individual governments in the EU countries to use their budgets correctly, as has not been done in the past to tackle this very important problem of bees and their survival. Further from information: Email: Jakob Nielsen

 

European Parliament resolution of 20 November 2008 on the situation in the beekeeping sector

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

Varroa spp ., colony collapse disorder and the spread of Nosema ceranae are among the causes of the crisis in bee health

  1. Considers that it is essential to respond without delay to the crisis in bee health in an appropriate manner and with effective tools
  2.  Considers that action should be taken to tackle unfair competition from apiculture products originating in third countries, which is partly the result of lower production costs, particularly as regards the price of sugar and labour
  3. Calls on the Commission to step up immediately further research into the parasites and diseases, as well as other potential causes such as erosion of genetic diversity and cultivation of genetically modified crops, decimating the bee population, while making additional budgetary resources available for this research
  4. Considers it vital to make it compulsory to indicate the country of origin of bee honey on labels
  5. Calls on the Council and the Commission to introduce measures under the CAP Health Check encouraging the creation of ecological compensation areas (such as apicultural set-aside areas) especially in large areas of arable cultivation; calls for such areas to be situated in those parts of fields which are difficult to cultivate, where plants such as phacelia, borage, charlock and wild white clover could be grown, providing rich sources of nectar in areas where bees gather
  6. Calls on the Council and the Commission to give due consideration to the health of bees, the possibilities for marketing bee products and the economic impact on the beekeeping sector in all discussions and future legislative steps concerning the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the European Union
  7. Calls on the Commission to promote the necessary measures to limit the risk of insufficient pollination both for beekeepers and for farmers, whose production could increase considerably
  8. Calls on the Commission to ensure that the quality of surface water is monitored and controlled, as bees are highly sensitive to any deterioration in their environment
  9. Calls on the Commission to undertake research into the link which exists between bee mortality and the use of pesticides such as thiamethoxam, imidacloprid, clothianidin and fipronil so that it can take appropriate measures as regards authorisation of such products
  10. Calls on the Commission to coordinate all information pertaining to this situation that is presently available in each Member State; believes that the Commission should cooperate with recognised organisations with a view to exchanging scientific information they have concerning the impact of pesticides on bees
  11. Considers it vital to introduce a requirement that imported honey be analysed to detect the possible presence of American foulbrood bacteria
  12. Urges the Commission to propose a financial aid mechanism for apiaries which are in difficulties due to bee mortality
  13. Calls for the Commission to incorporate into its veterinary policy research into, and action to tackle, bee diseases
  14. Calls on the Commission to urge all Member States to bring forward immediate support for the beekeeping sector
  15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission

 

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