UK: Oproep tot aktie i.v.m. alarmerende bijensterfte.
dinsdag, 14 juli 2009 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal
Zie ook onze berichtgeving van vandaag onder Berichten Nederland: Berichten%20Nederland/3829
Bron: The Herald 14 juli 2009
Call for action to halt ‘alarming’ decline in bees
BEES: Colonies are disappearing
The government is giving ''little priority'' to the health of bees despite their importance to the agricultural economy.
Honeybee colonies are disappearing at an ''alarming'' rate and ministers have until recently taken little interest in the problem, it is claimed.
The cross-party Public Accounts Committee wants the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ring-fence research spending on bee health and not allow it to be diluted by looking at other pollinating insects.
Edward Leigh, Tory chairman on the committee, said he found it difficult to understand why Defra had taken so little interest in the problem.
''Honeybees are dying and colonies are being lost at an alarming rate,'' he said. ''This is very worrying and not just because the pollination of crops by honeybees is worth an estimated £200m each year to the British economy.''
He added that the committee must find out what proportion of Defra funding is to focus solely on researching the causes of the decline in honeybee numbers.
According to government figures, the number of honey bees has fallen by 10% to 15% in two years, but officials at the Scottish Beekeepers Association suggest that figures have been as high as 30% in some areas of Scotland.
''We have seen quite a decline in the last number of years,'' said Phil McAnespie, vice-president.
''Honeybees are extremely important because 75% to 80% of all pollination is done by them. Nearly 40% of the food that we eat is pollinated by honeybees.
''If we don't have them, then at least a third of our food will not be available - that is quite a lot of food,'' he said.
In recent years honeybees have been hit by agricultural changes that have reduced the availability of the wildflowers that are so important in providing food for the insects. Diseases such as the varroa mite have infected hives, killing the bees, while climate change and pesticide use are also possible factors in the insects' decline.
Mr McAnespie said that while the government and Defra were promising around £10m to research pollinating insects, it was too little and too late. He said: ''They are trying to play catch-up but for many years we have suffered the consequence of mites and other factors.''
Mr Leigh said: ''Given that registration is not compulsory, as it is in some countries, Defra must make a concerted effort to persuade unregistered beekeepers to sign up.
''That would give the department much better information on the incidence of bee disease and enable it to deliver advice on bee husbandry much more effectively.''
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