Judge Rules Bees Can Legally Be Fish (Wait, What?)
A new California law is raising some eyebrows. According to changes made to the Golden State's endangered species act, bees can now be identified as fish.
In a decision made by the California Court of Appeals, the courts have ruled to reverse a lower court's ruling of the Endangered Species Act, which previously only protected "birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and plants."
The new act now also includes bees.
Adding bees to the protection list is a huge win for environmental groups and the state's Fish and Game Commission. However, some people are scratching thier heads and asking, "So, are bees now considered fish?"
According to court documents, "although the term fish is colloquially and commonly understood to refer to 'aquatic species,' the law, as it is written, makes the legal 'definition of fish' … not so limited."
California's Endangered Species Act was put in place in 1970 and initially protected fish.
Since then, the act has protected snails and other invertebrates living on land, so adding bees to their list of protected species isn't a huge stretch.
The court's decision to add bees to the California Endangered Species List now gives the commission the right to list invertebrate species like the bees as "endangered" even though they're not aquatic animals.
"This decision essentially allows the state of California to protect bumblebees and other imperiled species of insects as well as other types of terrestrial invertebrates under the state's endangered species act," conservation nonprofit Xerces Society spokeswoman Sarina Jepsen said, according to The Sacramento Bee.
"Reclassifying bumblebees as endangered species is absolutely essential to their survival," Jepsen continued, adding:
"This decision essentially allows the state of California to protect bumblebees and other imperiled species of insects as well as other types of terrestrial invertebrates under the state's endangered species act ... insects form the backbone of ecosystems.
Maintaining a diversity of species of native pollinators in our ecosystems is very beneficial to agriculture. And the four bumblebee species discussed in the case — the Crotch, Franklin, Suckley cuckoo, and the Western bumble bee — are highly endangered."
Under the Endangered Species Act, bumblebees will now be protected from any doings that may cause them to go extinct.
"Essentially, it will protect colonies of these bumblebee species from being killed intentionally," Jepsen explained.
That said, the updated law is a win for bees and our future crops.