Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands
I am delighted to announce the launch and publication of Scotland's second 10-year Honey Bee Health Strategy.
Honey bees and beekeeping activities in Scotland are important not only because of their role on pollination of crops and wild plants, but also because they are important drivers for the Scottish economy. Beekeeping continues to grow in popularity and we continue to see an increase in the number of beekeepers in Scotland, both hobbyist and commercial businesses.
Honey bees, like other pollinators in the world, are under pressure from a wide variety of threats, including pests and diseases. This new strategy aims to address the challenges facing honey bees and beekeepers and is aimed at achieving a sustainable, environmentally balanced and healthy population of honey bees in Scotland, for pollination and honey production.
This strategy follows in the steps of the first Strategy, published in 2010. The outcomes from that, as detailed in the recently published review, have proved to be a huge success and provide a stable foundation on which to continue and build on to ensure that honey bee health continues to be a priority.
There have been significant improvements made to all four outcomes of the original plan, however it is imperative that training and education of beekeepers continues to be at the forefront of what we do as well as ensuring that established effective working relationships continue to thrive. Continued strong partnership working with interested parties is essential if current and evolving threats to bee health are to be successfully identified and addressed.
There are however still many diverse challenges ahead of us and utilising the wealth of experience and expertise that we already have available will prove invaluable in taking forward further surveillance, diagnostic and Research and Development work. In addition, we have added a further issue covering biodiversity and look forward to working more closely with colleagues in NatureScot to take that work forward.
I would like to thank our stakeholders on the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP) for their support over the last 12 years and for their continued commitment to protecting and improving the health of honey bees in Scotland. This new Strategy and Implementation Plan will build on what has worked well, recognise where more effort is required and will take forward new actions. My colleagues and I look forward to working with all those who have an interest in honey bee health and other pollinators to achieve this.
Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands
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