Bumblebees Classified as Fish in Endangered Species Petition

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Regulation

A petition from the Xerces Society and the Defenders of Wildlife is calling for the consideration of four bumblebee species to be classified for protection under the California Endangered Species Act.  The petitioners used some fairly creative reasoning for why the bumblebees should be protected under the California Endangered Species Act, which does not provide protection for insects.

Endangered Species“It’s sort of a ridiculous petition,” said California Citrus Mutual (CCM) President Casey Creamer.  “The groups that are filing the petition are saying that because the ‘fish’ definition includes invertebrates, which several fish are, that that invertebrate also can be used for bumblebees or other classes of insects that are invertebrates.” 

In a recent vote of 3-to-1 by the California Fish and Game Commission, the bumblebee species’ have now become candidates for listing.  As AgNet West previously reported, the species that are being considered are Franklin’s, Western, Crotch, and Suckley cuckoo bumblebees.  Until a final evaluation and determination is made, the bumblebee species’ will be receiving full protection under the California Endangered Species Act.

It is not the first time that a colorful argument has been used to consider a species for protection under the California Endangered Species Act.  While it was ultimately rejected by the Office of Administrative Law, a similar petition was granted back in 1980.  “I think petitions like this would lead the way for even more restrictions moving forward under protection of the California Endangered Species Act,” said Creamer.  “It’s not just affecting farming, but construction, development, housing; I mean you can have all kinds of habitat where bees are which could prohibit that.”

To prevent “this ridiculous path from moving forward,” Creamer noted that CCM is working with a broad coalition of agricultural groups to oppose the petition through the assistance of an expert attorney in the field of species act litigation. “We’re optimistic that we think we’ve got a strong legal standing.  Several ag groups have joined together to work jointly to have legal representation to challenge this decision,” said Creamer.

Listen to Creamer’s interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West