A California woman was fined $88 thousand because her children collected shells on the beach - ForumDaily
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A California woman was fined $88 thousand because her children collected shells on the beach.

Late last year, a Fresno woman was fined $88 for her children collecting shellfish on Pismo Beach, California, reports ABC7.

An elementary aged Caucasian girl shows off Manila steamer clams she's collected on the beach

Photo: iStock.com/RyanJLane

Late last year, Charlotte Russ and her family traveled to Pismo.

“My kids thought they were collecting shells, but they were actually collecting shellfish. There were 72 of them,” said Fresno resident Charlotte Russ.

On the subject: A girl died in a hole she dug on a beach in Florida.

Her children learned an expensive lesson: When it comes to shellfish, there are rules.
Russ is right there beach issued a fine and later sent a notice that she would have to pay a little more than $88.

“It made me really depressed and ruined our trip,” Russ admitted.


Lt. Matthew Gil with the Department of Fish and Wildlife says regulations are in place to protect shellfish species.

“The reason we introduced these rules is to allow the clams to grow to 12 cm. Then they can spawn, have offspring every year,” explained Lt. Gil.

He noted that it is important to explain these rules to your children before going to the beach.

“You can touch dead sea life, broken seashells, that’s normal,” Lieutenant Gil said. “But in clams you will see that both shells are intact.”

“Now they know they don’t touch anything on the beach. They know what a clam is and how it differs from a seashell. I had to explain this to them,” Russ emphasized.

Tattoo for memory

Luckily, after she explained the shellfish situation to a San Luis Obispo County judge, she was able to get the fine reduced to $500.

Now Russ can laugh about it. She even got a clam tattoo after she "won" her case.

“The clam tattoo is supposed to remind me of the situation and how good my kids are at catching clams,” the Fresno resident quipped.

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Last year, 58 citations were issued for this issue in San Luis Obispo.

Russ says there are warnings posted near the beaches. But she thinks there should be more of them because her family didn't pay much attention to those posters.

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