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AFB PMP Management Agency

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About AFB PMP Management Agency

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    Nu Bee

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    Non Beekeeper - I do not want bees

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    Wellington

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  1. NucMan, Your allegation that the Management Agency has not acted on the information you provided is not correct. The Management Agency has followed up on the information you provided and undertaken investigation and enforcement actions as described in the Operational Plan https://afb.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/AFB-Operational-Plan-January-2020.pdf Inspection of some of the beekeepers apiaries resulted in the Management Agency identifying a few cases of AFB and multiple non-compliances with plan rules. The AFB hives have been destroyed and the beekeeper has been directed to address the non-compliances identified. The Management Agency has cancelled his DECA. The Management Agency has not initiated inspection of 100% of the beekeepers hives as our inspections did not identify sufficient cases of AFB to justify inspecting all of the beekeepers hives at levy payer expense, or using the Management Agency’s powers of cost recovery. The Management Agency will continue to monitor this beekeeper and notifications of AFB in the surrounding area. We will undertake follow-up actions as appropriate.
  2. The Government has notified changes to the AFB levy today following extensive consultation by the Management Agency with beekeepers in 2018 and 2019. The new levy funding will enable the Management Agency to provide additional services to protect beehives from AFB. The 2020 AFB levy is set at $40 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.35 ($1.55 including GST) per bee colony owned by each beekeeper as at 31 March 2020. A beehive with two brood boxes and several honey supers represents a substantial investment for every beekeeper, and it is crucial that the American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan is adequately resourced to protect beekeepers’ beehives from AFB. Elimination of AFB from managed colonies in New Zealand requires that all beekeepers comply with their legal obligations to eliminate AFB. The majority of beekeepers have met and continue to meet their AFB elimination obligations. However, these beekeepers have not enjoyed the full benefit of their efforts, as the beehives owned by a minority of beekeepers that do not comply with the American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan rules have continued to be a constant source of re-infection for their beehives. The previous levy did not provide enough funding to adequately monitor and audit beekeeper AFB elimination performance. As a consequence, most non-compliant beekeepers have yet to be identified and they have continued to engage in beekeeping practices that spread AFB. The new levy is expected to raise an additional $500,000 in 2020. This represents one third of the maximum allowable increase in levy. It will enable the Management Agency to double the number of apiaries inspected in 2020/21 from 1,200 to 2,400. These inspections will be focussed in regions with clusters of reported AFB and will better enable the Management Agency to identify infected apiaries owned by non-compliant beekeepers. The new levy funding will enable the Management Agency to increase the number of honey samples tested for AFB in 2020/21 from 60 to 1,000. The honey samples will be collected from commercial beekeeping operations that report little, if any cases of AFB each year. Negative honey test results will verify that these beekeepers genuinely have very low levels of AFB in their beehives. However positive honey test results will suggest that the beekeeper may be failing to report their cases of AFB, and their apiaries will become a priority for inspection. The Management Agency will use the additional levy funding to employ a second Operations Manager (AP1) to manage the additional inspection workload and ensure that the non-compliances identified are followed up. Each Operations Manager will be responsible for a separate region of the country. This will provide greater capacity to focus on the AFB elimination needs of each region. The new levy funding will also enable the existing ApiWeb/Apiary database system to be replaced in Spring 2020 with a modern fit for purpose system. The new system is expected to reduce beekeeper effort required to register apiaries, notify cases of AFB, file Annual Disease Returns and complete Certificates of Inspection. The new system will also include a phone app that will enable beekeepers to register apiaries and notify cases of AFB while they are working in the field. The phone app will also enable beekeepers to easily report apiaries that are suspected of being unregistered or other cases of non-compliance to the Management Agency for investigation. How much is the new AFB levy? The rate of levy for 2020 is $40 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.35 ($1.55 including GST) per bee colony owned by each beekeeper as at 31 March 2020. What is a bee colony? A bee colony is a group of honey bees living in a beehive. It includes nucleus hives as well as full beehives. How do I pay the levy? The Management Agency will send levy invoices out mid-April based upon the number of honey bee colonies recorded in ApiWeb/Apiary Database as at 31 March 2020. The invoice will contain instructions on how to pay the levy by the due date of 1 June 2020. How can I ensure that I am levied for the correct number of bee colonies? Act early, log into ApiWeb and check that the number of bee colonies recorded in each apiary are correct, if not make corrections as required on or before 31 March 2020. Or phone AsureQuality on 0508 00 11 22 and speak to an Apiary Registrar who will help you update your colony information. What should I do if I am levied for the wrong number of bee colonies? In mid-April AsureQuality will send out a Colony Return form as part of your Annual Disease Return form. You can either: 1. Login to ApiWeb, a. check that the number of honey bee colonies recorded on each apiary are correct and make corrections as required, then b. submit your Colony Return via ApiWeb, then c. send an email to levies@afb.org.nz advising that you require a revised invoice as per the updated Colony Return submitted. An amended invoice will be sent to you once the Colony Return has been processed. OR 2. Complete and return your Colony Return form AND send an email to levies@afb.org.nz advising that you require a revised invoice as per the updated Colony Return submitted. An amended invoice will be sent to you once your Colony Return has been processed. What is a Colony Return? A Colony Return is a statutory return required for levy collection purposes. The form of the Colony Return is the same as the honey bee colony part of the Annual Disease Return. This provides you with the convenience of being able to complete your Colony Return as part of completing your Annual Disease Return. AsureQuality will send out Colony Return forms as part of your Annual Disease Return forms in mid-April. Beekeepers can submit their Colony Return via ApiWeb. All beekeepers are legally required to declare the number of bee colonies they own on 31 March each year. What safeguards are being implemented to ensure that all beekeepers pay their fair share of funding for the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan? All beekeepers are required to make a Colony Return for levy collection purposes. Making a false Colony Return and/or entering false bee colony information into ApiWeb is an offence under the Biosecurity Act 1993, and substantial penalties apply that are many times greater than paying the correct levy. The Management Agency will be monitoring bee colony numbers recorded in ApiWeb during the autumn and will audit beekeepers that have unusually large reductions in colony numbers.
  3. Clause 15 of the National Pest Management Plan states that: "No beekeeper may permit beehives owned by that beekeeper to be situated in a place for more than 30 consecutive days unless that place has been notified (registered) as an apiary" Please note that a beehive is defined as: "thing constructed for the keeping of honey bees and that is being used or has been used for that purpose; but does not include an introduction cage or a mailing cage" Hence beekeepers must register apiary sites even if none of the hives on the site have a live honey bee colony in them.
  4. Beekeepers legal obligations under the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan are quite clear: ensure, where American foulbrood is discovered in a beehive owned by that beekeeper, that all honey bees, bee products, and appliances associated with that honey bee colony are destroyed unless otherwise directed (clause 28) ensure that materials associated with American foulbrood are not used and not accessible to honey bees (clause 29) When the Management Agency identifies that a beekeeper is in breach of these plan rules the Management Agency will act to manage the AFB risk that these hives and materials pose to other beehives owned by neighbouring beekeepers.
  5. AFB dog trials should be designed and managed by a professional research organisation such as a Crown Research Institute or University. The Management Agency has provided permits to access and keep AFB materials under appropriate conditions for research purposes, and would not hesitate to do so for research into AFB detector dogs.
  6. Even if there was provision for compensation under the American Foulbrood National Pest Management, section 162A(3)(c) of the Biosecurity Act 1993 would apply:- "Compensation must not be paid if the person failed to comply with biosecurity law: (i) in a serious or significant way (ii) in a way that contributed to the presence of the organism (iii) in a way that contributed to the spread of the organism"
  7. There are no issues with acceptance of research done overseas. The major issue with the above article its presentation of the results does not conform the established scientific norms for the description of their methods and materials and for presenting estimates of sensitivity and specificity. This makes it really hard to assess the validity of the estimates.
  8. Under the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan beekeepers are responsible for eliminating AFB from their beehives, and the Management Agency is responsible for monitoring and auditing beekeeper compliance with their obligations in order to eliminate AFB from managed colonies in New Zealand. i.e. individual beekeepers are free to make their own decisions as to whether they wish to hire/purchase an AFB detector dog to augment their AFB inspection and elimination practices. The National Pest Management Plan also requires that inspection methods approved by the Management Agency must be generally recognised by the scientific community as effective in the detection of AFB. Currently their is a lack of research on the use of dogs for the detection of AFB published in peer reviewed scientific journals. The Management Agency is legally unable to approve the use of AFB detector dogs until this changes and a quorum scientists are publicly stating that the use of dogs is effective for the detection of AFB.
  9. The Management Agency has recently implemented changes to its apiary inspections: 1. The number of AP2s inspecting apiaries has been increased from 21 to 37 2. The Management Agency is now actively searching for beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB, and we have changed our processes for managing AP2 inspections to facilitate this. Regrettably - the Management Agency believes that there are many more beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB yet to be identified. Beekeepers can assist the Management Agency to identify beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB by ensuring that they report all cases of AFB they find, both within 7 days and as part of their Annual Disease Return. The Management Agency uses this information to identify geographic clusters of AFB and prioritise apiaries within the clusters for inspection. If we find one or more apiaries with a higher than expected level of AFB we schedule further apiaries owned by the same beekeeper for inspection to make a more thorough assessment of the level of AFB in their hives.
  10. The Management Agency has taken the DECA Inspector list down from the website. In future this list will only be available on the website from August to November to assist non-DECA holders to contact a DECA holder to arrange for their hives to receive a Certificate of Inspection.
  11. Trevor, The Management Agency takes its responsibility for protecting the privacy of beekeepers information very seriously. If you could please supply the Management Agency with the name of the lady from Wall Street Journal concerned, her phone number, the mobile number she called you on, and the Management Agency will investigate.
  12. The Management Agency posting information on AFB outbreaks is a balancing act between informing the wider beekeeping community so that they can take action to manage the risk of AFB in their hives, versus protecting the privacy of the individuals concerned - not only because they have a right to privacy under the Privacy Act, but the Management Agency also has a moral responsibility to protect the beekeepers concerned and their families from bullying and harassment that can and does occur as a result of being identified as a result of experiencing a significant AFB outbreak. Individual beekeepers, and particularly those with leadership positions within the beekeeping community should consider what they can do to create/facilitate a culture amongst the beekeeping community where individuals feel safe to admit that they have recently had a case (or outbreak) of AFB, inform their neighbours, seek advice and assistance, and share experiences on how they moved forwards address AFB in their hives. Next time anyone reading this post is considering engaging in a conversation about AFB please consider whether what you are about to say is likely to contribute to a positive culture where beekeepers feel safe to honestly share their AFB experiences, or whether it will perpetuate the current culture where AFB is frequently regarded as a socially unacceptable disease that beekeepers are reluctant admit to. The Management Agency is acutely aware of the learning (and beekeeping culture improvement) benefits of making real case studies about AFB outbreaks and how beekeepers addressed the problem available. These cases studies are most useful if they are presented with the informed consent of the beekeepers concerned as this enables the experience to be shared from the beekeepers perspective. We are working with a couple of beekeepers to progress this and do intend to build a small library of case studies over time.
  13. Nuc_man please do not misrepresent yourself as an AP2. You do not have a valid Warrant as an Authorised Person under the Biosecurity Act 1993 nor an AP2 Contract with the Management Agency - and you have not held either of these for a considerable period of time.
  14. The central premise of the American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan (NPMP) is based on evidence that back in the 1990’s many beekeepers demonstrated that it was possible to eliminate AFB from their beehives with the available tools and technologies. If all beekeepers replicated the same AFB elimination practices used by these beekeepers, then the elimination of AFB from managed colonies in New Zealand was possible. These AFB elimination practices are enshrined in Disease Elimination Conformity Agreements, and the balance of the NPMP rules define the minimum standards for AFB control in New Zealand. Under the NPMP beekeepers are responsible for eliminating AFB from their beehives, and the Management Agency is responsible for monitoring and auditing beekeeper compliance with their obligations in order to eliminate AFB from managed colonies in New Zealand. Many beekeepers are to be congratulated for their AFB elimination practices. Due to your efforts the levels of AFB in New Zealand hives have been held at similar levels to what it was in 1998 when the NPMP was initiated. Unfortunately, your efforts have been undermined by beekeepers that have chosen not to comply with the AFB elimination practices specified in their Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement and/or NPMP rules and a Management Agency that has failed to hold these non-compliant beekeepers to account. This issue was recognised by the Management Agency Board in 2016. In 2016 the Management Agency Board initiated the development and roll-out of a five-year strategy to eliminate AFB. The Management Agency employed Clifton King as National Compliance Manager in November 2017, Marco Gonzalez as National Operations Manager in October 2018, and transferred the management of inspection and compliance activities from AsureQuality Ltd to the Management Agency in November 2018. These changes provided the Management Agency with the capability to undertake compliance and enforcement actions to address serious noncompliance with NPMP rules, as was previously announced in December 2018. The Management Agency has also changed the focus of its apiary inspections from ‘seeking to find hives with AFB’ to ‘seeking to identify beekeepers whom are not implementing the AFB elimination practices specified in their Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement’. The Management Agency is assessing whether AP2 inspection findings are consistent with good AFB elimination practice, and what, if any compliance and enforcement actions are appropriate. In most cases the AP2 inspection findings do not give the Management Agency cause to be concerned. However, the Management Agency is also identifying extreme cases of noncompliance (AP2 inspection finds AFB in more than 10% of hives) and in these instances the Management Agency is cancelling Disease Elimination Conformity Agreements, serving Biosecurity Act directions and acting on default - as in the Mid Canterbury case. Unfortunately, the compliance and enforcement actions undertaken by the Management Agency since November 2018 represent the ‘tip of the noncompliance iceberg’ and there are a significant number of beekeepers with AFB in more than 10% of their hives that have yet to be identified. The Management Agency has recently appointed 17 new AP2s to bring the total to 36 and we are prioritising their work to identify as many seriously non-compliant beekeepers as we can within our existing resource constraints, and undertake compliance and enforcement actions to reduce the AFB risk for neighbouring beekeepers.
  15. The Restricted Place Notice only applies to the apiaries owned by the beekeeper concerned. They cannot move hives from any of their apiaries without a permit from the Management Agency. Other beekeepers with hives in the high risk area are free to move their hives, but as described in this afternoons alert, Beekeepers in the High Risk Area are advised to take the following actions to identify any of their own hives that may have become infected as a result of this outbreak and prevent AFB spreading to their other hives: 1. Identify all hives that either are currently situated on apiaries in the High Risk Area or have been situated in the High Risk Area at any time during the 2018/19 season. 2. Ensure that all hives identified receive monthly inspections for the balance of the autumn period and next spring for minimum of 6 months. 3. Beekeepers should note that hives in the High Risk Area will have a higher than average risk of becoming infected with AFB for the next two years and beekeepers should manage their risk by: a. Implementing quarantine measures b. Ensuring that they complete full frame inspections of every frame of brood at regular intervals during the spring build up and at least once during the autumn c. Minimising the amount of brood shifted between hives d. Minimising the making of splits, tops and nucs e. Minimising the exchange of wet or dry supers between hives located in the High Risk Area and hives from outside the High Risk Area, f. Avoiding the use of feed honey or bee collected pollen, and g. Minimising the movement of hives and h. Keeping good traceability records. Map of the High Risk Area below
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