A Californian court has determined that bees are fish, which has been termed as a “wonderful day” for the state’s bees.
As the judges of California’s Third District Court of Appeal acknowledged in their opinion, bees are not fish scientifically. A Bee Movie/Finding Nemo crossover is unlikely to happen anytime soon. However, the court ruled that bumble bees are invertebrates and hence qualify for protection under the California Endangered Species Act.
“The question here is whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, fits under the definition of fish,” the justices said in their conclusion. Birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and fish are all examples of “endangered species” under CESA. Under this concept, insects such as bees are excluded.
The justices, however, read it as “ambiguous” whether the legislature intended for the definition of fish to apply solely to aquatic animals. They point out that the legislation already applies to a terrestrial mollusc.
“Of course, a fish, as the term is usually understood in ordinary language, lives in aquatic surroundings. However, as noted by the Department and the Commission, the technical term under section 45 [of California’s Fish and Game Code] includes mollusks, invertebrates, amphibians, and crustaceans, all of which comprise terrestrial and aquatic species “the judges said
“Moreover, by virtue of the precise wording in section 2067, the Trinity bristle snail — a terrestrial mollusk and invertebrate — is an endangered species under the Act and could have qualified as such only under section 45’s definition of fish.”
According to the court, the Fish and Game Commission has the jurisdiction to identify invertebrates as endangered or threatened species.
“The following question is whether the Commission’s power is restricted to designating only aquatic invertebrates. We conclude that the answer is ‘no,’ “They compose. “Although the term fish is typically used to relate to aquatic creatures, the term of art used by the Legislature in the definition of fish in section 45 is not so limited.”
In brief, bumble bees are fish if the Fish and Game Commission declares them to be so in order to provide them with better protection. The decision, while unnecessary in terms of how fish and bees are typically characterized, has been hailed by insect protection groups and other environmentalists.
“It’s a terrific day for California’s bumble bees,” said Pamela Flick, Defenders of Wildlife’s California Program Director, in a news release. “Today’s ruling clarifies that Endangered Species Act protections apply to all of our state’s vulnerable native species, which is vital to conserving our state’s famed biodiversity.”
“Bees and other pollinators are essential to healthy ecosystems, and the vital pollination services they give benefit all of us, making this decision exponentially more important.”
The judgement, which reversed a lower court decision, means that other kinds of insects might be designated as fish in order to receive the same protection as these bees.
“With bees pollinating one out of every three bites of food we consume, this court ruling is important to maintaining our food supply,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director at Center for Food Safety. “The ruling confirms that insects like bees are eligible for CESA safeguards, which are required to ensure that populations of endangered species may survive and develop.”
To emphasize, that pollination is now a fish.