Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development
June 1, 2016

Supporting and Protecting Our Industries

Minister Outlines Regulations on Importation of Honeybees to the Province

The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, today outlined the existing rigid standards and regulations around the importation of honeybees into Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The demand for honeybees has exceeded our capacity to supply the market and grow the industry in our province. For this reason, some local beekeepers have requested, and we have granted permission, to import honeybees from the disease-free region of Western Australia. Existing legislation allows these imports to occur only when the province’s Chief Veterinary Officer approves it through a certification process. We are cognizant of the importance of ensuring that our bee population is protected from disease and for this reason are following a very rigid inspection and certification process.”
- The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency

The importation of honeybees is governed by the Animal Health and Protection Act which came into force in 2010, and the Animal Health Regulations (2012), which state that honeybees and honeybee hives must be certified free from a number of pests which affect bees, including Varroa mite.

The island portion of the province is one of a small number of places worldwide known to be free from these pests. Western Australia is the largest area known in the world to be pest free.

“This is not the first time bees have been imported into our province from Western Australia. This has been done in the recent past and imports met the required certifications. Upon entry into Newfoundland and Labrador all imported bees are quarantined and monitored for disease for 12 months. This includes sampling and testing for disease at the National Bee Diagnostic Centre in Alberta.”
- Dr. Laura Rogers, Acting Chief Veterinary Officer

Importation Certification Process is included in the backgrounder below.

The importations that occurred this season were undertaken by or supervised by established beekeepers who are members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeepers Association. Imported bees are visited once per month by the Provincial Government Apiarist and sampling will occur until the end of the summer.

The Provincial Government has invested $210,000 in the apiculture (beekeeping) sector through federal and provincial agriculture-related programs. Certified importations are focused on growing the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as decreasing the likelihood of illegal importations by individuals who cannot source local bees.

The Animal Health and Protection Act and accompanying regulations are available at www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/a09-1.htm

QUICK FACTS

  • The importation of honeybees is governed by the Animal Health and Protection Act which came into force in 2010, and the Animal Health Regulations (2012), which states that honeybees and honeybee hives must be certified free from a number of pests which affect bees, including Varroa mite.
  • The island portion of the province is one of a small number of places worldwide known to be free from these pests. Western Australia is the largest area known in the world to be pest free.
  • The importations that occurred this season were undertaken by or supervised by established beekeepers who are members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeepers Association. Imported bees are visited once per month and sampling will occur until the end of the summer.

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Media contact:

Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 693-1865
tansymundon@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER
Importation Certification Process

  • A beekeeper makes a request to import bees from Australia and provides details on the type of importation, including the amount of bees requested;
  • Inspections are carried out in Australia by veterinarians with the Australian Department of Agriculture at premises of exporting Apiaries, and issues an official Certificate of Health;
  • This paperwork accompanies bees to Point of Entry, in this case, Spy Hill, Saskatchewan, where a second inspection is carried out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency;
  • The Provincial Chief Veterinary Officer issues an import permit and then bees and accompanying paperwork are forwarded to the importer;
  • The Provincial Government Apiarist visits the imported bees to set up the quarantine, ensure government protocols are in place and takes sample of bees to be tested at the National Bee Diagnostic Center in Beaverlodge, Alberta. Sampling is carried out once a month until the fall.

2016 06 01                              5:05 p.m.