Woman Fined $88K After Kids Mistakenly Collect Dozens Of Clams From Beach

By Bill Galluccio

May 23, 2024

Clams on the Beach
Photo: southlandp / iStock / Getty Images

A California mother said that her family's vacation was ruined after her kids inadvertently gathered dozens of clams at Pismo Beach.

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

While Russ and her kids were enjoying their time on the beach, they were approached by officers who told them it was illegal to collect clams without a permit and issued them a ticket.

Later, Russ received a notice that she was being fined $88,000 for collecting the clams.

"It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip," Russ said.

Russ fought the ticket in court, explaining that her kids didn't realize they were illegally collecting clams. The judge was sympathetic to her situation and reduced the fine to $500.

Lt. Matthew Gil, with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, spoke to the news station and explained why the regulations against clamming are in place.

"The reason we got it 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," Gil said.

Russ said that her children have learned from their expensive mistake and can now tell the difference between a clam and a seashell.

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