CATCH THE BUZZ
Canada Border To Remain Closed…Probably.
The Canadian Food Inspection
Agency is refusing to release its risk assessment on bees from the United
States, but media reports say the agency has concluded the border should remain
closed because of four serious risks from the U.S., including Africanized
honeybees and medication-resistant pests.
A CFIA spokeswoman tells Bee
Culture the assessment has been sent to interested groups with a request
for comments, but will not be released to the media.
The 71-page assessment finds the risks from U.S. package bees have not
changed since the last assessment in 2003. It claims the U.S. does little to
inspect for or restrain the movement of honeybee diseases.
The agency carried out the assessment after commercial beekeepers in
Manitoba and Alberta asked the federal government to open the border, saying
devastating winter losses put Canada's pollination industry in peril.
Canada closed the border to U.S. packages in 1987. Since 1993 it has
allowed honeybee queens to be imported from the U.S. However, starter packages
with up to 10,000 bees are banned.
Canadian beekeepers last year imported 40,000 packages from New Zealand,
Chile and Australia, which agency says do not have problems of Africanized
bees, small hive beetle, medication-resistant mites and American Foulbrood.
Most of the 198,000 queens imported were from the U.S., primarily
The views north of the border are not unanimous.
Small and medium-sized beekeepers in British Columbia, Ontario and
Quebec oppose reopening the border saying the risks are too great. Commercial
beekeepers with 83%of the hives in Canada say they cannot continue without
access to lower-cost U.S. bees.
The Vancouver Sun reports several commercial operators have launched a
class-action lawsuit over the border closure, but the case has yet to be heard.
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