So Bees Are Fish Now?

Get your dictionary out and dictionaries, people.

In the Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary A bee is an “insect” that is distinct from wasps “in the body’s hairier and heavier structure and by having sucking capabilities and chewing mouthparts which feed on nectar and pollen, as well as storing both, and , often, honey.”

Fish aren’t insects. They don’t have bodies with hairs. They don’t even have mouthpieces that chew. They don’t rely on nectar or pollen neither do they keep the two, or even honey.

According to a California tribunal, bees can be classified as fish.

Almond Alliance v. Fish and Game Commission

In the year 1950 in the year 1950, the California legislature adopted in the year 1950, they passed California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The term “endangered species” refers to an “bird or mammal amphibian, fish reptile or plant” that is in grave risk of becoming extinct. The law permits for the California Fish and Game Commission to declare “any animal, bird, amphibian, fish or reptile” as an “endangered or scarce species.” These animals have numerous protections in state law.

CESA doesn’t determine what “fish” refers to, however the dictionary defines it. One of the first definitions for “fish” from our trusted Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “an aquatic animal.”

And what does “bees” are able to relate to “fish”?

Bees Are a species that is threatened.

Four years ago, some public interest groups requested to the Fish and Game Commission to identify four different species of bees to be “endangered animals.” But not so quickly the almond farmers said. The almonds industry is huge in California. Almonds are harvested every year around 3.0 billion pounds. The trade groups believe that protecting endangered species could stop farmers from working in the vicinity of honeybees (which are essential to pollinate the state’s 1.3 million acres of forest) and could also hinder the use of pesticides with certain ingredients.

In spite of these concerns however, they were not able to stop the Fish and Game Commission issued an open letter stating its intention to include bees in the list of endangered species. Farmers sued, and convinced an California judge to rule the inclusion of bees in fish was an “clear legal mistake” and a blatant abuse in the discretion of Fish and Game Commissioner. The commission then appealed.

In a unanimous verdict in a unanimous decision, the Third Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling and concluded that “[a]lthough the term “fish” is commonly used and used to mean fish, the concept of art utilized by legislators in its definition of “fish” (in the statute] isn’t as limiting.”

Let’s take a look at this.

Some Fish, Like Bees, Lack Backbones

The court began with the term “fish.” The court ruled that the term was unclear and was susceptible to interpretations of different kinds over time. The time California legislators first utilized the word, it appeared to refer to seafood in general. Contrary to the proper classification of science, California law included mollusks (such as oysters and clams) as well as crustaceans (such as crabs and lobsters) and sea-dwelling invertebrates (animals that do not have a backbone) also known being referred to as “fish.”

The term “hook” was later adopted as “invertebrate.” In the year 1980 the Fish and Game Commission decided that an additional invertebrate, which was an invasive snail species, could be considered a fish to be protected by the state. In the following years, two crayfish and a shrimp were added to the list.

That brings us up to now. The appeals court’s opinion is long and takes us through the background of the statute as well as the interpretation of it. The three judges who comprised the panel agreed that, on the basis of the definition of”fish” as well as its interpretation of the law over many years, every invertebrate, whether on land or at ocean — could be considered to be classified as a “fish” and therefore could be declared a protected state endangered species.

What happens next?

The decision was only announced on May 31, which means lawyers representing almond farmers are still negotiating the ruling. They are likely to contest the ruling. It’s left to the California Supreme Court to decide what the scope of the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s jurisdiction is sufficient to permit the designation of any invertebrate such as the spiders, worms and butterflies as protected species in accordance with California laws.

And, in the meantime, where is the future for us? Today, we have a world in which insects are considered fish. Thanks, lawyers.

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