California court declares that a bee is a fish

Here’s your daily dose of lunacy.

Fox News reports that a California appellate court just ruled that, for the purposes of state environmental law, a bumblebee is now a kind of fish. 

Yes, you read that correctly. The California judiciary has decided that a bee is a fish.

You can’t make this stuff up

The case in which this ruling was made is Almond Alliance of California v. Fish and Game Commission. 

According to the New York Post, “the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Food Safety – petitioned the Fish and Game Commission in 2018 to add the Crotch’s bumblebee, Franklin’s bumblebee, Suckley cuckoo bumblebee, and Western bumblebee to the state’s endangered species.”

“However,” the Post continues, “the Almond Alliance of California, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and five other agricultural groups filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court in a bid to clarify that CESA [the California Endangered Species Act] does not protect insects.”

Thus, the central issue in the case is whether bees fall under CESA’s definition of fish, which included “invertebrates.”

Lower court rulings

In 2020, at the Superior Court level, the judge made the common-sense ruling that bees are not fish.

Specifically, the judge ruled that the word “invertebrates” had to be read in the context of CESA. And, when it is, the judge said that it is clear that CESA is only referring to aquatic invertebrates.

This decision, however, was appealed. And, just last week, the appellate court reversed this ruling, holding that bees are fish.

The court ruled:

We next consider whether the Commission’s authority is limited to listing only aquatic invertebrates. We conclude the answer is, “no.” Although the term fish is colloquially and commonly understood to refer to aquatic species, the term of art employed by the Legislature in the definition of fish in section 45 is not so limited . . . The legislative history supports the liberal interpretation of the Act . . . that the Commission may list any invertebrate as an endangered or threatened species.

So, there you have it. In California, a bee is now legally classified as a fish.

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