California mom receives fine for $89,000 after her kids collected 72 clams from beach thinking they were seashells

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By Asiya Ali

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A mother revealed she was given a fine of almost $89,000 after her children were caught collecting dozens of clams, believing they were seashells.

Charlotte Russ took her five children on a family vacation to Pismo Beach, California, at the end of last year. 

During the getaway at the "Clam Capital of the World," her curious kids started collecting what they thought were seashells.

"My kids they thought they were collecting seashells, but they were actually collecting clams, 72 to be exact," Russ told ABC 7.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife confronted the mother of five and told her that her children were collecting the clams without a fishing license.

They later issued her a fine in the mail, ordering her to pay a staggering $88,993 for her kids' seemingly innocent treasure hunt

"It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip,” she told the outlet.

Credit: George Rose / Getty

The Department of Fish and Wildlife spoke out about the incident and said that the harsh rules are in place for a reason.

"The reason we we have these regulations is because we have to let them get to 4 and a half inches so they can spawn so they can have they can have offspring every year, and they have juvenile clams," Lieutenant Matthew Gil said.

Gil said that it's important for anyone visiting the beach to familiarize themselves with wildlife regulations and the different animals. He said you can tell apart a clam from other mollusks based on how difficult it is to pull apart their shell.

"If you have a dead sand dollar, a dead animal, or something like that, or you have a broken seashell, that's fine," he said, adding, "Pismo clams - what you're gonna see is both shells will be intact together."

Pismo clams can be identified by their thick, large, triangular shells and can be pale or brown in color. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Getty

Russ pleaded her case to a San Luis Obispo County judge, who thankfully knocked her fine down to $500.

She remarked that the harmless mix-up was a lesson on wildlife rules for her children, sharing: “They know now at the beach don’t touch anything.

"But they know now what a clam is, compared to what a seashell is now, I’ve had to explain that to them,” she added.

After she "won" her case, the mom got a shellfish tattoo on her arm to commemorate the incident.

"It was definitely one expensive trip to Pismo, unforgettable," Russ quipped.

Featured image credit: RyanJLane / Getty

California mom receives fine for $89,000 after her kids collected 72 clams from beach thinking they were seashells

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

A mother revealed she was given a fine of almost $89,000 after her children were caught collecting dozens of clams, believing they were seashells.

Charlotte Russ took her five children on a family vacation to Pismo Beach, California, at the end of last year. 

During the getaway at the "Clam Capital of the World," her curious kids started collecting what they thought were seashells.

"My kids they thought they were collecting seashells, but they were actually collecting clams, 72 to be exact," Russ told ABC 7.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife confronted the mother of five and told her that her children were collecting the clams without a fishing license.

They later issued her a fine in the mail, ordering her to pay a staggering $88,993 for her kids' seemingly innocent treasure hunt

"It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip,” she told the outlet.

Credit: George Rose / Getty

The Department of Fish and Wildlife spoke out about the incident and said that the harsh rules are in place for a reason.

"The reason we we have these regulations is because we have to let them get to 4 and a half inches so they can spawn so they can have they can have offspring every year, and they have juvenile clams," Lieutenant Matthew Gil said.

Gil said that it's important for anyone visiting the beach to familiarize themselves with wildlife regulations and the different animals. He said you can tell apart a clam from other mollusks based on how difficult it is to pull apart their shell.

"If you have a dead sand dollar, a dead animal, or something like that, or you have a broken seashell, that's fine," he said, adding, "Pismo clams - what you're gonna see is both shells will be intact together."

Pismo clams can be identified by their thick, large, triangular shells and can be pale or brown in color. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Getty

Russ pleaded her case to a San Luis Obispo County judge, who thankfully knocked her fine down to $500.

She remarked that the harmless mix-up was a lesson on wildlife rules for her children, sharing: “They know now at the beach don’t touch anything.

"But they know now what a clam is, compared to what a seashell is now, I’ve had to explain that to them,” she added.

After she "won" her case, the mom got a shellfish tattoo on her arm to commemorate the incident.

"It was definitely one expensive trip to Pismo, unforgettable," Russ quipped.

Featured image credit: RyanJLane / Getty