California Appeals Court: Bees Are Fish

Someone forgot to ask if the judges in this case are biologists. I know I am not, but this recent ruling by a California Appellate Court essentially declaring that bees are now fish is surreal, though not unexpected. According to Reason, the court made this ruling in order to protect some species of bees not covered by the Golden State’s endangered species law:

Environmentalists petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to add four bumblebee species to the list of at-risk plants and animals governed by the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Roughly 250 plant and animal species are protected by the CESA, which prohibits the import, export, possession, purchase, or sale of listed species. The Commission provided notice in 2019 that the four bumblebee species were candidates for CESA protection, prompting lawsuits from agricultural groups that were concerned about the costs of adherence to the new requirements.

They also questioned the Commission’s legal authority to designate bumblebees for protection. Insects aren’t a protected category under the CESA. Candidate species may include “a native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant,” according to the state’s fish and game code. And while California does protect some species of insect, these are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. That left state officials without an intuitive avenue.

Rather than let pesky biological standards get in the way, they had concluded that designating bumblebees as fish was the most fitting way to get them protected under the CESA. Legally, a fish refers to “a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian, or part, spawn, or ovum of any of those animals.” Because bumblebees are invertebrates—a protected subset of fish—the Fish and Game Commission argued that they could reasonably be designated as fish per the CESA’s terms. The trial court wasn’t having it.

But, the state appellate court weighed in declaring bees could be designated fish stating:

“Accordingly, a terrestrial invertebrate, like each of the four bumble bee species, may be listed as an endangered or threatened species under the Act.”

California residents, as Reason points out, now have to be concerned about whether or not actions they take to protect themselves from bees and other insects. Unless the court’s decision is overturned on appeal, this decision now permits the state’s Game and Fish Commission to declare any invertebrate an endangered species. This ruling is a classic example of the left’s living document theory.

Under normal circumstances, people would petition California legislators in order to have the bees in question to be classified endangered species. Instead, judge play the role of legislators. The left has no legal standards and wants any such requirements discarded. As far as they are concerned, anything that helps the state achieve it’s goal to dominate, intimidate, or control people will be achieved, regardless if such declarations defy reality.

Image by soufiane koraichi from Pixabay