Bumblebees are eligible for protection as endangered or threatened “fish” under California law, a state appeals court held in a win for environmental groups and the state’s Fish and Game Commission.
The Sacramento-based California Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s ruling Tuesday for seven agricultural groups who argued that the California Endangered Species Act…expressly protects only “birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and plants” – not insects.
While “fish” is “commonly understood to refer to aquatic species, the term of art employed by the Legislature … is not so limited,” Associate Justice Ronald Robie wrote for the appeals court…
“Accordingly, a terrestrial invertebrate, like each of the four bumblebee species, may be listed as an endangered or threatened species,” Robie wrote, joined by Acting Presiding Justice Cole Blease and Associate Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch.
Matthew Sanders of Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic hailed the decision as “a win for the bumblebees, all imperiled invertebrates in California, and the California Endangered Species Act.”
Of course. And it’s easier than trying to nudge California legislators into doing something useful.