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US woman faces 73 lakh fine after kids collect clams mistaking them for seashells

May 24, 2024 07:14 PM IST

A woman in California was fined $88,000 (approx ₹73 lakh) when her children mistakenly collected 72 clams, believing them to be seashells.

A woman in California, USA, had to face a fine of $88,000 (approx 73 lakh) after her children collected 72 clams, which they mistook for seashells. Charlotte Russ and her kids were on a trip to Pismo Beach, where the incident happened. The beach is famously known as the “Clam Capital of the World”.

The children collected a total of 72 clams.

Russ was in shock when an official from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife handed her a ticket and informed her that her five children were collecting clams without a license.

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“My kids thought they were collecting seashells, but they were actually collecting clams-72, to be exact. Right before we went, that’s when I opened it, and that’s when I saw the amount. It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip.,” Russ told ABC30.

According to a report by The Independent, the woman was able to get her fine reduced to $500 (approx 41,000) after explaining her mistake to a San Luis Obispo County judge.

The regulations are in place to protect the shellfish species.

“The reason we have these regulations is to allow the shellfish to reach four-and-a-half inches so they can spawn and produce offspring each year, including juvenile clams,” the outlet quoted Lt Matthew Gill of the Department of Fish and Wildlife as saying.

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Lt Gil also stressed the need to educate oneself and children before going to the shore.

“If you find a dead sand dollar, a dead animal, or a broken seashell, it is acceptable to collect it. However, with Pismo clams, you will see both shells intact together. If the shells do not come apart easily, it is a living clam,” he added.

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