California Classifies Bumblebees As ‘Fish’ Under Endangered Species Act
By Alexa Heah, 03 Jun 2022
As fishy as it sounds, there’s good news for environmentalists. Bumblebees are now eligible to be protected as endangered “fish” in the state of California, after the Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s ruling.
Initially, the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) had only identified “birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and plants” as being entitled to environmental protections, leaving out threatened insect populations.
According to Reuters, while CESA hasn’t defined what “fish” constitutes, the California Fish and Game Code, of which the law is a part of, notes that it includes any “mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, (or) amphibian,” which the court finds can be applied to a terrestrial invertebrate like the four bumblebee species in question.
With the ruling out of the way, environmental activists in the state can now impose critical protections needed for the bee population, as well as other imperiled insects, vulnerable plants, and animals at risk of going extinct.
“We are celebrating today’s decision that insects are other invertebrates are eligible for protection under CESA,” said Sarina Jepsen, Director of the Xerces Society of Endangered Species.
“The Court’s decision allows California to protect some of its most endangered pollinators, a step which will contribute to the resilience of the state’s native ecosystems and farms.”
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