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    Mom fined $88K after kids collect 72 clams from California beach thinking they were seashells: ‘Ruined our trip’

    By Richard Pollina,

    2024-05-23

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4J3mr0_0tIjDoZa00

    Shell shocked!

    A California mother was slapped with a fine worth $88,000 after her kids mistakenly collected clams — thinking they were picking up seashells — on the beach without a fishing license.

    Charlotte Russ was on a family trip to Pismo Beach, known as the “Clam Capital of the World,” when she said her kids picked up 72 clams from the clamming hotspot during their getaway, according to ABC 7 .

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0lPLME_0tIjDoZa00
    Charlotte Russ (center) was fined over $88,000 after her kids mistakenly collected clams on a California beach. KFSN-TV

    The Department of Fish and Wildlife confronted the mother of five and told her that her kids were collecting the clams without a license, and issued her a ticket.

    “Right before we went, that’s when I opened it and that’s when I saw the amount,” Russ said

    She later received a fine in the mail ordering her to pay $88,993 before a San Luis Obispo County judge knocked her fine down to $500.

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

    She said the whole experience taught her children and her valuable lessons about wildlife regulations.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1DFxm7_0tIjDoZa00
    The Department of Fish and Wildlife confronted the mother of five and told her that her kids were collecting the clams without a license, and issued her a ticket. KFSN-TV
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0VPxlE_0tIjDoZa00
    She later received a fine in the mail ordering her to pay $88,993 before a San Luis Obispo County judge knocked her fine down to $500. KFSN-TV

    “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 said.

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    Making light of the harmless mix-up, Russ showed that she got a shellfish tattooed on her arm to remember the situation after she “won” her case.

    “It was definitely one expensive trip to Pismo, unforgettable,” Russ said.

    In 2023, 58 citations were issued in San Luis Obispo County for illegally collecting clams, according to the outlet.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3RW1F2_0tIjDoZa00
    Making light of the harmless mix-up, Russ showed that she got a shellfish tattooed on her arm to remember the situation after she “won” her case. KFSN-TV

    The Department of Fish and Wildlife says the harsh penalty for collecting clams without a license is in place to protect shellfish species like clams.

    “The reason we got it, we have these regulations is because we have to let them get to 4½ inches so they can spawn so they can have offspring every year, and they have juvenile clams,” Lt. Matthew Gil told the outlet.

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    Pismo clams are exclusively found in the eastern Pacific Ocean and can be identified by their thick, large, triangular shells and can be pale or brown in color.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0Svppw_0tIjDoZa00
    Pismo clams can be identified by their thick, large, triangular shells and can be pale or brown in color. ca.gov

    The outside of the shell may also have a yellowish, tan or green varnish-like coating.

    Pismo clams are bivalves — meaning they have two siphons and a two-halved shell.

    Pismo Beach is the home of the Pismo clam and the Pacific razor clam, according to the beach’s website .

    Clammers are limited to 10 Pismo clams per day.

    Over the years, clammers and sea otters have drastically reduced the population, but shellfish populations have increased due to regulation efforts.

    For top headlines, breaking news and more, visit nypost.com.

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