A Special Fish That Flies


If a child asked you if a bumblebee be considered a fish your inclination might be to sneer at the obvious question. California courts may have you thinking again when they declare a bumblebee as a fish under a new law.

The bumblebee is not only a fish but the court documents state that it should be protected by the state’s endangered species ordinances. 

The colloquial term for fish differs from the term defined in legal documents. In the court records, the term “fish” isn’t only used to describe aquatic species. The state’s legislative history indicates that “to classify a non-aquatic bumblebee as a ‘fish’ as under state law ‘the Commission may list any invertebrate as an endangered or threatened species.'”

In the case, Almond Alliance of California v. Fish and Game Commission, the California State Appellate Court of the Third District said: “The issue presented here is whether the bumblebee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of a fish.” 

The court’s justification is that under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Game Commission has the control to declare what is and isn’t considered endangered. The commission is not restricted to listing only aquatic species, and they can expand their list to include other types of species. 

As of 2015, the state legislature defined the term to include “a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian, or part, spawn, or ovum of any of those animals.” 

The prior case was overruled and Judge James P. Arguelles of the Sacramento Country Superior Court made a mistake when he reached the opposite conclusion. 

According to the legal definition, you will find some fishes flying in the air instead of swimming in the deep seas. 


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