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Children took souvenirs from the beach – and received a million fine

Children took souvenirs from the beach – and received a million fine

(Pismo Beach, California).

Image: Wikimedia

Late last year, Charlotte Ross took the family to Pismo Beach, California.

Her children wanted beach souvenirs and collected 72 shells — or rather, what they thought were shells.

“My kids thought they were collecting shells, but they were actually collecting mussels,” says Charlotte.

Since 1947, Pismo Beach has called itself the “Mussel Capital of the World.” There are strict regulations regarding shellfish in the area, such as that you must have a license to take them and even then only to a limited extent, which neither Charlotte nor the children knew about.

Charlotte found out when a state Department of Game and Fish official showed up and fined her for taking 72 oysters.

-I just looked at her when we were about to leave. “And that's when I saw the amount,” Charlotte says.

I got a million fine

It turned out that the fine was equivalent to 956 thousand Swedish krona.

“It ruined the whole trip and made me feel depressed,” says Charlotte.

Matthew Gill from the department says the reason for these heavy fines is that they need to protect the shellfish in the area and therefore want to discourage this type of behaviour.

Fortunately for Charlotte, the fine was reduced to just over 5,000 SEK when she explained the mistake to the judge.

Now a relieved Charlotte has a completely different 'souvenir' after the beach incident.

– I got this after “winning” my legal case, says Charlotte – and shows off the new mussel tattoo on her arm.