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"Ruined our trip": Mum shell-shocked by $130k fine

<p>A mother has been slapped with a hefty fine after her children were caught in a seemingly innocent act while on a beach holiday. </p> <p>Charlotte Russ took her five kids on a trip to Pismo Beach in California, where her children started enthusiastically collecting what they thought were ordinary seashells. </p> <p>"My kids they thought they were collecting seashells, but they were actually collecting clams, 72 to be exact,"  Russ told local news outlet <em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">ABC 7</a></em>.</p> <p>Clamming is highly regulated in California, meaning if you don't have a fishing license, you cannot catch the small sea creatures. </p> <p>She received a citation right there on the beach and was later notified she has to pay close to $89,000, or $133,000 AUD, for her kids' seemingly innocent treasure hunt. </p> <p>"It made me really sad and depressed, and it kind of ruined our trip," said Russ.</p> <p>Department of Fish and Wildlife's Lieutenant Matthew Gil defended the fine, saying there are rules in place for a reason. </p> <p>"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," said Lt. Gil.</p> <p>Russ said her kids have learned their lesson, saying, "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."</p> <p>The mother was able to plead her case with a San Luis Obispo County Judge, who reduced her fine to $500 dollars, and after she "won" her case, Russ got a shellfish tattoo to commemorate the incident.</p> <p>"It was definitely one expensive trip to Pismo, unforgettable," said Russ.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC 7</em></p>

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New England clam chowder

<p>A thicker variety than other chowders, this New England variety is a delicious seafood dish full of flavour and texture.</p> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Ingredients:</span></strong></p> <ul> <li>3kg fresh clams (try at your local fish market if you’re having trouble finding some)</li> <li>450g potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (russets work best)</li> <li>1 medium carrot, finely diced</li> <li>1 stalk celery, finely diced</li> <li>1 medium onion, finely diced</li> <li>100g bacon, finely diced</li> <li>2 garlic cloves, crushed</li> <li>Olive oil as needed</li> <li>250ml double cream</li> <li>2 bay leaves</li> <li>1 tablespoon fresh thyme</li> <li>2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped</li> <li>Salt and freshly ground black pepper</li> </ul> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Method:</span></strong></p> <ol> <li>Soak the clams in a bowl of cold water with salt for an hour. Wash them through.</li> <li>Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the garlic and two tablespoons of olive oil. Fold in the clams and cover with a lid. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes, until the shells open and the liquid is released. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the garlic.</li> <li>Filter the clam liquid and leave aside. Remove the clams from their shells.</li> <li>In your large pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, thyme and bay leaves. Sauté this mixture for five minutes, stirring occasionally.</li> <li>Add the potatoes and bacon to the saucepan and stir-fry for one minute. Add the clam liquid and cover with a lid. Cook until the potatoes are soft.</li> <li>Add the double cream to the chowder, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaves.</li> <li>Blend the mixture until smooth and return to the heat. Add the clams to the pot. Serve hot.</li> </ol>

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