A Florida tourist collected 40 conch shells from the beach and now she's going to jail


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A Texas woman visiting Key West will serve 15 days in jail after collecting 40 conch shells that she planned to give away as gifts.

The woman, Diana Fiscal-Gonzalez from Dallas, was tipped off and arrested on July 13 by an officer from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She was also sentenced to six months probation by a Florida judge, and will have to pay $500 fine plus $268 for court costs, USA Today reports.

Fiscal-Gonzalez pleaded guilty but claims that she didn't know taking the shells were illegal. However, it turns out that the queen conchs she took had living organisms inside, making them illegal to collect.

Florida does allow the collection of empty shells, but the FWC wants people to know that it's not okay to rip organisms out of their shells on any Florida beach.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a collapse in conch fisheries in the Florida Keys during the 1970s led to the criminalization of harvesting these mollusks. 

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