The Hump, a chic Japanese restaurant in Santa Monica, served sushi made from the flesh of the endangered sei whale to customers willing to fork over the appropriate dough. Two patrons went to the restaurant with an undercover film crew and, after racking up a $600 tab, requested whale meat. The chef served it up – it was even identified as such on their tab. The patrons (and their film crew, who were acting at the behest of Louie Psihoyos, Oscar-winning director of The Cove) smuggled some flesh out of the restaurant, where they had it genetically tested.
Sure enough, it was sei, an animal protected by both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. On their third visit, the women were accompanied by agents of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Busted.
The chef admitted guilt and the restaurant owners appear willing to pay the fine, which could be up to $200k. Of course, as this article points out, with diners forking over $600 for dinner, it won´t take long for them to recoup their losses.
Another lesson learned, I guess. But by whom?
h/t Bruce Wagman
Update: The Hump is all done. Couldn’t happen to a nicer restaurant. Read about it here.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: | endangered species, Endangered Species Act, Louie Psihoyos, Marine Mammal Protection Act, marine mammals, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, sei whale, sushi, The Cove, whale meat, whale meat sushi, whales