Feds Charge Calif. Whale Sushi Joint
The Hump accused of selling endangered species product
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2010 8:12 PM CST
An unidentified woman opens the door at the entrance of the Hump Restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., today.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Federal prosecutors filed charges today against the owner of a California restaurant and its sushi chef that marine mammal activists say served illegal whale meat. Typhoon Restaurant Inc., which owns The Hump restaurant in Santa Monica, and Kiyoshiro Yamamoto were charged with illegally selling an endangered species product, a misdemeanor.

Two undercover diners requested whale as part of an $600 omakase or chef's choice, meal. The young women were working with the producers of the Oscar-winning documentary, The Cove, to record the whole meal. They pocketed a sample, and genetic testing confirmed that it was meat from the endangered Sei whale. If convicted, Yamamoto could face a year in prison and a fine of $100,000. The company could be fined $200,000.