You didn’t come here for a lecture. You didn’t click on this article, hoping that someone would tell you how to live your life. I’m not going to do that. I will, however, maybe suggest that you don’t harvest endangered clams from the seafloor while being filmed for a reality TV show. Ethically? Not great. The optics? Even worse.
This very gaffe could see 23-year-old South Korean actress Lee Yeol-eum head to prison, after catching three giant shellfish in a Thai national park while being filmed for the TV show Law of the Jungle. If ripping endangered clams out of their home in a marine park wasn’t a bad enough look, participants on the show were also filmed eating the clams.
Law of the Jungle is a Survivor-esque reality TV show in which celebrities are giving survival challenges in remote environments and has been running continuously since 2011.
The clam incident took place in Hat Chao Mai National Park, located about 670km south of Bangkok, and aired in an episode at the end of June. Shortly afterwards, head of the park Narong Kongeiad filed charges against Lee.
According to the Associated Press, Narong specifically singled out Lee because she was the one that caught them. “The one who must be responsible is the actress who caught the shellfish because she directly violated the law,” he said. “Others who were involved with the incident could also be charged as well.”
The producers of the show, Seoul Broadcasting System, issued a statement apologising for the clam-eating, blaming it on an unfamiliarity with the local laws, but Narong told the AP that the production was made fully aware of the rules of the marine park.
People in the marine parks are prohibited from catching, hunting or cooking “sea resources” in the area, and Lee is facing up to four years in jail and $1868 in fines.