Mom fined $88k at Pismo Beach, because kids collected ‘seashells’ on the shore – she was ticketed right on the spot

A MOTHER almost had to pay $88,000 after her children accidentally collected rows of clams, thinking they were seashells.

Charlotte Russ’ family day trip to the beach was ruined after her children mistakenly racked up 72 total live clams.

A family trip to the beach turned expensive after the kids collected 72 live clamsCredit: ABC30

Charlotte Russ and her children thought the clams were just seashellsCredit: ABC30

But she ended up being fined $88,000 for clamming without a licenseCredit: ABC30

But there are rules and regulations in place when it comes to clamming at Pismo Beach in California.

Russ, thinking the clams her children have been gathering were just seashells, was eventually approached by beach authorities from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

After a short encounter, she was handed a fine of $88,000.

“It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip,” Russ told local ABC affiliate KFSN-TV.

“My kids they thought they were collecting seashells, but they were actually collecting clams, 72 to be exact,” said Russ.

Matthew Gil from the Department of Fish and Wildlife says although it can be hard to tell which one is just a seashell and which ones are live, the rules are in place to protect that species of shellfish.

“If you have a dead sand dollar, a dead animal, or something like that, or you have a broken seashell, that’s fine,” said Gil.

“In Pismo clams, what you’re gonna see is both shells will be intact together,” he continued.

Simply put, If the two connected shells can’t be easily pulled apart, then it’s a clam.

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This is something that Russ and her children are now aware of.

She explained that there were some signs posted, but wished they were more, and they were clearer about what a clam is versus a regular seashell since it was not something her family knew the difference between.

“They know now at the beach don’t touch anything,” Russ said.

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

Russ was due in court for her ticket not too long after in San Luis Obispo County.

But after explaining the mishap to the judge, they reduced her fine from nearly $90,000 to just $500.

The judge appeared to be understanding about the mishap.

Last year, 58 citations were issued to people for illegal clamming in San Luis Obispo, although it doesn’t seem those were an accident.

This was a major win in Russ’ eyes, one that she now laughs at.

Since this misadventure, Russ jokingly got a seashell tattoo to remind her of the situation and how good her children are at being clamming.

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

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