"Law of the Jungle" on SBS has again shown its insensitivity to vulnerable natural species, this time poaching and feasting on a bigeye tuna on a western Pacific Ocean island.
Off Chuuk State, a cluster of high volcanic islands in the Federal States of Micronesia, three acting crew from the Korean entertainment TV show caught the tuna with a fishing rod. Fishing from a boat, they also caught another bigger one, but a shark bit off underwater, leaving only the head.
The actor and two comedians took a selfie with the tuna fresh and then cut out its gall. They took the fish to the island where the rest of the show's production crew was at. The acting crew members then butchered the tuna ― raw-sliced, smoked, and skewered ― and the celebrities ate it with excitement as there was not much on offer to eat on the remote island.
The feast was filmed and aired on Jan. 18 in the weekly show's 397th episode.
Shortly after the airing, the show received a backlash from a Korean environmental activist group for poaching a species that is on the red-list of international natural conservation groups.
The Korean Federation for Environmental Movements cited the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. The species, according to the organizations, is classified "vulnerable." The IUCN additionally indicates the species is declining.
"Sadly, bigeye tuna isn't the species the production crew of Law of the Jungle catches and can be happy about," the KFEM said.
"Bigeye tuna on average grow to 180 centimeters and 120 kilograms. The tuna from the SBS show appeared about 50 centimeters long. This indicates it had lived no more than two years and was very young."
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and Micronesia's Pohnpei State next to Chuuk have been monitoring bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna and skipjack tuna being caught, according to the KFEM.
"In the program, produced to entice TV viewers by catching wildlife species, learning basic information about what they plan to catch is necessary," the environment group said. "We must understand the needs for coexistence and mutual life, not glorify poaching."
This was not the first time the show, launched in 2011 with celebrities sent to various remote islands where they test their wildlife survival skills, was apparently oblivious to wildlife conservation in international waters outside Korea.
In an episode aired June 30, 2019, Korean actress Lee Yeol-eum caught three giant shellfish in a Thai national marine park.
In the episode filmed in March the same year, participants ate the giant mollusks ― endangered species in Thailand ― from Hat Chao Mai National Park.
The incident brought criticism from Thailand and Korea and coverage from international news outlets. Narong Kongeiad, the national park chief, had filed police charges against Lee in July 2019 for violating Thai wildlife laws. The charge carried a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine up to 40,000 baht ($1,300).
SBS, ahead of filming at the marine park, was informed of the park's regulations that stated sea resources there cannot be caught, hunted or cooked, according to Kongeiad.
Days after Kongediad's filing, SBS apologized, saying it had not thoroughly understood the regulations. The broadcaster, in effect, punished its bureau chief and the show's program director and chief producer.
Angry Koreans then called for the show's cancellation.
On Jan. 15, 2020, the Korea Communications Standards Commission finalized its decision against the SBS show's production crew regarding Lee and the giant clams by issuing an advisory warning without any legal punishment.
Although it was clearly wrong, the incident, which happened overseas, did not clearly violate domestic legal standards, according to the commission.
"They violated the Thai laws but that doesn't automatically subject them to the commission's penalization codes," said a member of the commission, according to MediaUS.
Seriously, you would think after the first time that they would be more careful.
source: The Korea Times