California Court Rules That 'Bees Are Fish'

By Logan DeLoye

June 3, 2022

Bee in flight
Photo: Getty Images

Yes, you read that correctly. Bees are fish, but only in California. There has been an ongoing legal dispute in recent years regarding the endangered nature of bumble bees under the California Endangered Species Act. According to KENS5, a California appeals court has considered bees to be classified as fish. So, how and why has this happened?

In 2019, the California Fish and Game Commission wanted to put four new species of bumble bees on the endangered species list. KENS5 mentioned that bees were listed under the fish category because bees are invertebrates. To be classified as a fish under the California Endangered Species Act, the species must be invertebrate.

Putting these bees on the endangered species list would mean that agricultural workers around the state could not use specific pesticides. When a handful of agricultural groups disagreed with this classification, a 2020 court ruling took bees off of the endangered species list.

Now, in 2022, the initial decision to remove bees has been overturned and the vital insects are once again listed under the fish category. The final decision made by the appeals court detailed that the act is not just limited to aquatic species. Any and every endangered invertebrate needing extra protection against human and environmental factors will be added to the endangered species list.

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