Identity politics: California court says bumble bees are fish, because definition of fish is colloquial, a ‘term of art’

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A bee can now identify as a fish in California.

A California appeals court has ruled that bumble bees are protected under a state law that protects endangered and threatened fish. A lower court had ruled the opposite, saying laws protecting endangered fish were not meant to include insects.

But the appeals court has said that since bees are invertebrates, they can be classified as fish, and that the California Endangered Species Act definition of fish as only “aquatic invertebrates” is simply a “term of art.”

The ruling made it clear the court was aware that it was making the decision that bees are fish, as it wrote, “The issue presented here is whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of fish….” Then, “We first reaffirm and expand upon our conclusion in California Forestry Association that section 45 defines fish as the term is used in sections 2062, 2067, and 2068 of the Act, by application of section 2.”

“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. We acknowledge the scope of the definition is ambiguous but also recognize we are not interpreting the definition on a blank slate. The legislative history supports the liberal interpretation of the Act (the lens through which we are required to construe the Act) that the Commission may list any invertebrate as an endangered or threatened species. We thus agree with the Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department), and intervenors Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Defenders of Wildlife, and Center for Food Safety (collectively public interest groups) that the trial court erred when it reached a contrary conclusion. We accordingly reverse the judgment.”

In the past, California law defined fish as “wild fish, mollusks or crustaceans, including any part, spawn or ova thereof.” The Legislature in 20215 changed the definition slightly, opening the loophole for bees to be considered fish: “ ‘[f]ish’ means a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian or part, spawn, or ovum of any of those animals.”

41 COMMENTS

    • Aw, com’on Sue. Lighten up. We are living in the new woke distopian world now. Soon you can marry your pet cat and maintain community property, or, sign a contract with your dog so as not to feed her grain formulated feed. Your neighbor can sue you if you place Trump yard signs on your property. Your kids can take you to court if you refuse to let them begin gender re-assignment hormone treatment. And if you raise bees for honey, you must have it inspected by Joe Biden’s Dept of Agriculture before you put one teaspoon into your tea. Get used to it. After all, we elected Joe Biden and the communist Lefties by 81 million votes. Correct?

  1. And you wonder why people are getting out of California as quickly as possible. The government there is off its rocker and purposely destroying the State!

  2. Suzanne, you don’t have the judge’s name or what court this happened in. The lack of details has me questioning the veracity of this column.

    • Sweeney, perhaps the ruling embedded in the story is not showing up for you. It’s the Third District. Send me your email address if you need me to send it to you directly, but you should be able to see the entire ruling in the story. Thanks. – sd

      • Suzanne, thank you. I read about the case. It goes back to 1969 when the state was trying to protect bees which are as important as water in farming. This is a fight between the Almond growers and the state. The almond growers are the villains here. They use too much water and most of the almonds are sent to China.

  3. Since it was the CA Legislature that changed the definition in 2015, it doesn’t fall on the Court for their interpretation of a “fish.” The new definition clearly includes bees and any other invertebrates after that date. Take it up with their Legislature.

    • Bill,
      The court simply added insult to injury in this case. The idiots in the CA legislature obviously have made a mistake and meant to include an aquatic invertebrate in the definition, not a terrestrial invertebrate. Regardless of who, what, or why it’s obvious that a bee is not a fish even if a court rules as such. The CA legislature is a joke, even more so than the Alaskan legislature. The fact that a court has ruled the legislature was correct in their plainly obvious mistake just compounds the stupidity. The court should have found that as written the law is faulty. The legislature and the court are both equally idiotic.

      I am heartened to hear that you believe the courts shouldn’t interpret the law as they see fit, but as written. That’s usually a conservative view of how the courts should rule, typically liberals think legislating from the bench is the way to bypass the constitutional republican way of governing our country was designed upon.

      • Except Steve-O, you are only speculating that the Legislature “meant to include an aquatic invertebrate in the definition.” There is likely some information, relative to this change of definition, that can shed some light on this but also likely you haven’t seen it. Why is that? Heheh!
        Your second paragraph is just gibberish.

      • Here is the law clerk’s words (who argued the case before the appellate court), relative to this decision: “The court’s ruling, which is grounded in the California Legislature’s plain words and intent, ensures that CESA will fulfill its purpose of conserving ‘any endangered species’ by protecting the full range of California’s biodiversity, including terrestrial invertebrates.”
        Note “plain words and intent.”

        • Oh, so what you’re saying is that I gave them far too much credit and it really is as stupid as it sounds. A terrestrial invertebrate with wings for flying is not an aquatic invertebrate that lives in or under the water…regardless of the CA legislatures plain language or intent or a ruling by a CA court.

          • Not saying that at all Steve-O and nothing in the definition says “aquatic invertebrate” which is just your latest blunder.
            Further, there has already been a case of a terrestrial mollusk (Trinity bistle snail) decided back in 1980 under EPA. And mollusks are invertebrates. Heheh!

          • Bill,
            It takes an amazing amount of mental gymnastics to convince yourself that a terrestrial invertebrate is an aquatic vertebrate. While I’m not surprised that you’ve been able to choke down the nonsensical reasoning that has lead to this courts decision, I’d think that you as a former commercial fisherman would have the ability to understand a bee is not a fish. Sometimes politics outweighs reason and sadly for you and the CA court that made this ruling is very obviously one of those time.

          • Steve-O, not sure why you insist on your reasoning here but go ahead. And CESA is in the business of saving endangered species, which is their main objective, and little question that bees are a “species.”
            This appears to be a case of “mental gymnastics” that is being done for the sake of bees. Almond growers can always appeal this decision and they may. It just may force the looking into that terrestrial snail decision back in 1980, too.
            Try reading “The Completely Logical Reason Why a Bee Can Be Considered a Fish Now” by Emma Wallenbrock, and size up your “nonsensical reasoning” against hers.

  4. I got news for you. It applies to Anchorage as well. And the bee/ fish can run for assembly and use any bathroom they desire. And destroy anybody who disagrees with them.

  5. Will the Anchorage assembly be taking this up next week,..?? and will Bubble Bee sea food no longer be available in Alaska unless you ware a mask when purchasing it..??

  6. They are former biology majors who flunked out in their freshman year. Now they are off their meds. And most of Alaska’s legislators want to be like them.

  7. This is the beginning of the end, when words have no meaning and facts no longer matter we are no longer intelligent beings with society and culture…we are simply glorified apes grunting at each other.

    • Good observation Steve-O.
      Apes though are refreshingly honest in their conduct and observance to nature unlike their present day human counterparts.

  8. California legs failed to pass laws protecting honeybees, which are threatened by pesticides. The chemical companies have opposed any such laws strongly.
    Labeling bees as fish was simply a workaround. Instead of simply a law to control pesticides, it will effectively ban all of them. Zing!
    The pesticide companies are now forced to work with the Cal legs, and come up with a compromise.

  9. Definitely something in the water in CA that must be slipping past detection. Can dumb get any dumber? Definitely a topic for the Babylon Bee and a number of posts above should be included 😅😂😂

  10. Just imagine the next time you’re driving down the highway and one of the ‘bees’ (aka – kamikazee) smashes // splatters into your windshield. Under this new definition ….
    A) Do we immediately stop the vehicle in the middle of the highway, blocking all traffic and potentially shutting down the highway, so as to preserve the crime scene, calling every Guv’ment Agency – Authority and self-disclosing the incident in an attempt at exonerating oneself?
    B) Do we immediately pull the vehicle over, delicately scrape the remnants off the windshield, and give ‘Ol Kamikazee a proper burial in the most convenient body of water … Mud Puddle, Stream – Creek, Lake, or Ocean? Showing ultimate respect and dignity, honoring its ancestral heritage, freeing it’s souls the the Bee Gods?
    C) Or, do we simply initiate the wipers and apply Bug Juice to adequately clean the pesky insect from our windshield, cranking up the tunes, stomping down on the gas peddle, screaming …. MERICA!
    Recognizing that I’m at the Top-of-the-Food-Chain, a red blooded American living in the best country on the face of the planet, filled with an abundance of … Good Looks, Brains, Humor, Humility, Logic, Reason, and Common Sense, I can assure you that I’ll take option “C” every time!
    If for any reason you might be conflicted on what you would personally choose, answer “C” is truly the only respectable // responsible answer. Freedom and Liberty will thrive in an environment of Logic, Reason, and Common Sense. Anything less is pure stupidity, so choose – expect – demand nothing less.

    • I suspect you are ignorant of this but in SE Washinton state, there are (or were) clover growers that have signs out on some highways asking drivers to slow down for those small green clover bees traveling across those roads.
      Pesky insects indeed.

  11. Before we become too “woke” on this stuff it would be instructive were we to recall Kellyanne Conway’s use of the phrase “alternative facts!” And then there is Bill Clinton’s famous retort when questioned before a grand jury, “It all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” There is a direct correlation between the loss of intellectual integrity and the bastardization of language. If you want to get a glimpse into a man’s soul, listen to his speech!

    As to the elections, don’t get played for being just another chump by any of the fast-talking bamboozlers! Demand “uncontorted” positions from the politicians: there is nothing about this election that demands “speculative clarification” on any issue as if we were all talking about quantum physics!

    With regard to the court’s “conflation” of the fishes and the bees, you might need a couple refresher courses in ichthyology and entomology, but surely you’ve already learned about the birds and the bees! If you are having trouble distinguishing dragonflies from flying fish, you might be thinking that the California judge were a Rhodes Scholar like Bill Clinton. But for those of us living in the real world, it is what it is and we need no alternative facts!

  12. Any agronomist will tell you. Bees are an essential component of agriculture. Anyone that believes developing more asphalt and concrete covered surfaces instead of preserving bees is not thinking straight

  13. OK. So phylum is NOT a thing, anymore. Good to know before I pay any more money to accredit my brains in science. Too bad. I used to like “science”.

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