Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP) Member Statements
Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA):
As a non-commercial organisation, the Scottish Beekeepers' Association has as its ethos a number of features which the Honey Bee Health Strategy is extremely supportive of. Encouraging and supporting beekeepers to promote and attain higher standards of beekeeping skills, education, good beekeeping husbandry and practice, together with ensuring awareness of bee disease issues and legal obligations and requirements, has ensured that the bee population and beekeepers we have at present are as good if not better than they have been in the past.
Since its inception in 2010, the Honey Bee Health Strategy has sought to promote all these aspects but possibly its greatest achievement has been the uniting in a unique way of the various organisations involved in the beekeeping sector in Scotland. The Bee Health Improvement Partnership has been a success story and allows individual groups to discuss various aspects of bee culture and issues in a very friendly and supportive manner and determine, where possible, a unified approach to problem solving.
As this plan is a living document with the opportunity to change, various facets of bee health, strategy and implementation can be addressed in a fluid manner. Climate change, Importation, Conservation and potential introduction of bee pathogens are all aspects which have been and will continue to be considered.
The Scottish Beekeepers' Association are very supportive of this new Honey Bee Health Strategy and look forward to ensuring its success through implementation of the various suggestions put forward.
Bee Farmers Association (BFA):
Bee health and vigour underpins the success of bee farming businesses, and the beekeeping and honey production industry as a whole. At a time when changes in the relationship between the UK and Europe have created many new challenges and opportunities for the sector, the Bee Farmers' Association (BFA) welcomes the timeliness of publication of this new strategy and continued partnership working with other stakeholders to achieve a healthy and sustainable population of honey bees in Scotland.
The association is pleased to see research, knowledge transfer, and strategies for prevention and control all playing their part in dealing with existing and potential future pest and disease threats.
Since publication of the previous strategy in 2010, interactions between honey bees, other pollinators and the environment have emerged as topics of interest. Research in Scotland's specific context is required to ensure policy decisions are properly informed; this is reflected in the strategy and the associated implementation plan.
With accelerated changes to our climate, achieving a sustainable honey bee population in future will mean more than simply a conservationist approach. Over the life of the plan, progressive strategies will be required to manage risks to our bees and ensure future availability of healthy, vigorous, resilient and productive livestock.
The BFA and its Scottish members will inform and support the strategy implementation plan over its lifetime through an outward looking approach, seeking out successful practices from around the globe to benefit the sector here in Scotland.
National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB):
Holders of the NDB (National Diploma in Beekeeping) will continue to provide education in all matters of beekeeping husbandry whenever the opportunity arises. The aim is to raise the standard of beekeeping instruction throughout Scotland.
Pollinators are an integral part of our biodiversity. If we lose the pollination services provided by insects such as bees and flies, we risk damaging not only plants and animals but agricultural yields, our economy and our wellbeing. However, many of our pollinators are under threat. Current pressures include land-use changes, land management, pesticides, pollution, invasive non-native species, diseases and climate change.
The Pollinator Strategy for Scotland 2017–2027 sets out Scotland's response to these threats. Identifying the issues, it sets out what needs to be done and, through the Implementation Plan, a phased plan to deliver a healthy future for our pollinators.
The consultation process leading up to the launch of the Pollinator Strategy for Scotland underlined the need for partnership across sectors to deliver action at a scale - and across activities - that would benefit our pollinators. A group led by Scottish Natural Heritage (as NatureScot was then known), in collaboration with Scottish Government, developed the principles and actions further as the basis of this Strategy. This group included the Bee Farmers Association, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Scottish Environment LINK, National Farmers Union Scotland and Scottish Lands & Estates.
The resulting Pollinator Strategy includes action for everyone, from Government and its agencies to conservation groups, farmers, landowners, managers, gardeners, agricultural business, commercial business and members of the public. NatureScot recognises that honey bees and other pollinators have an extremely close relationship. It therefore is delighted to have been involved in the complementary and revised publication of Scotland's Honey Bee Health Strategy and looks forward to working with a range of partners in helping to deliver this key work.
Scotland's Rural College (SRUC):
Beekeeping continues to grow in Scotland, both at hobby and commercial level. We see a wide variety of new business models emerging (teaching, selling bees, providing experiences).
The role of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) will be to provide that expertise and technical advice to all beekeepers. With funding from the Scottish Government a Bee Advisor has been appointed and will contribute to Honey Bee Health plans. We are working with the Bee Health Improvement Partnership to improve beekeeping education. It will help beekeepers across Scotland to be able to contribute to and be aware of how to take care of bees, to know how to identify pests and diseases and how to deal with these issues in an informed way.
The SRUC recognises the importance of education in helping all beekeepers to learn more and improve the health of their bees. As highlighted in the Honey Bee Health Strategy Survey, education is a high priority. Improving the knowledge transfer of and between hobbyists, bee farmers, bee inspectors and others is essential to improve honey bee health.
SRUC looks forward to working in partnership with all members of the Bee Health Improvement Partnership to provide guidance and direction on the new Honey Bee Health Strategy and its implementation. We welcome the review & publication of the education and communication programmes. It will encourage good management practices, biosecurity and disease control practices. We plan to contribute to developing a training package on Varroa and delivering presentations on notifiable diseases, pests, and other relevant Bee Health Issues. We value the continued partnerships, working with other all stakeholders to achieve shared goals.
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