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European Parliament urges action to stop decline in number of bees
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08:58, November 21, 2008

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The European Parliament on Thursday urged immediate action to tackle the drastic decline in bee colonies throughout the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world, warning the decline in the number of bees poses a threat to food production.

The parliament adopted a resolution with 485 votes in favor to 13 votes against with 5 abstentions.

The resolution calls on the European Commission to put in place measures encouraging the creation of ecological recovery zones in parts of fields that are difficult to cultivate.

The resolution called on the commission, the executive body of the EU, to immediately step up further research into the causes of the decline and to make additional budgetary resources available for this research.

Research is also needed to establish whether there is a link between the use of pesticides, such as thiamethoxam, imidacloprid, clothianidin and fipronil, on bee mortality, according to the resolution.

The parliament also urged the commission to propose a financial aid mechanism for beekeepers in difficulty, and asked EU member states to bring forward immediate support for the beekeeping sector.

The parliament wanted analysis of imported honey to detect the possible presence of American foulbrood bacteria, a disease that affects honey bees.

Bees pollinate various crops and the decline in the number of bees threatens food production. Three quarters of food production is dependent on bees and 84 percent of vegetables grown in the EU depend on pollination, according to the resolution.

Apart from pesticides, threats to bees include genetically modified crops and modern farming techniques, which has led to a reduction in pollen and nectar. The reduction in agricultural set-aside land also makes life difficult for bees.


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