CATCH THE BUZZ - Canada Border To Stay Closed...Probably EZezine


Canada Border To Remain Closed…Probably.

Alan Harman

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 Hawaii.

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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