bees are legally fish in california

In some cases, such as the protection of bees, the end justifies the means.

This week, a Californian judge hit the headlines with a decision that was unusual to say the least. He ruled that bees could now be legally considered “fish” under a species conservation law.

This verdict spotted by Gizmodo refers to the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). It is a text that sets up protective measures for species threatened by human activity. Problem: terrestrial and flying invertebrates, including our friends the bees, are not part of the plans. They are not eligible for the protection provided by this law; a situation that has lasted since a precedent set in 2020 by another court in Sacramento.

A legislative sleight of hand at the service of the ecosystem

Since then, various groups have tried to find an attack surface to break through this legislative lock. Their objective: to ensure that the text also protects bees, even if it means taking liberties with the wording. And the results were there, even if the story is ultimately rather funny.

Because it happens that in the text of this famous CESA, the generic term fish is quite broad. It can refer to “wild fish“, but not only. The official definition also covers “molluscs, crustaceans, invertebrates, amphibians, or any part, offspring or egg of these animals”.

However, according to an environmental lawyer interviewed by Gizmodoit is also specified that “the definition in this chapter governs the construction of this code and all subsequent decisions”. Two points that provided lawyers with everything they needed; they were thus able to make the judge accept this biological nonsense justified by a good cause.

A clear ecological success

We celebrate the decision that insects and other invertebrates are now eligible for CESA protection”, explains Sarina Lepsen, director of endangered species for the organization Xerces Society, a non-profit organization which fights to save biodiversity.

The court ruling allows California to protect some of its most endangered pollinators, a step that will help the resilience of the native ecosystem and farms”, she rejoices in a communiqué.

This is obviously great news for the Californian ecosystem; knowing the pressure that weighs on bee populations and their status as living beings essential to our survival, all means are good to protect them – and too bad if they have to be designated as fish; Sometimes the end justifies the means!

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