Last Wednesday, March 10, 2010, federal prosecutors charged Hump, a popular sushi restaurant in the Santa Monica owned by Typhoon Restaurant Inc., for selling endangered whale meat. Also being charged is the restaurant’s head chef. The investigation surfaced when the New York Times accused the restaurant and chef of serving endangered Sei whale meat out of the trunk of a white Mercedes.
This incident has shocked many environmental organizations and animal activists, especially since Santa Monica is known for its progressive environmentalism. Federal agents and animal activists worked together in a sting operation that orchestrated by the associate producer of Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove.”
According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, both the restaurant and the chef are being charged with the illegal sale of a marine mammal product, a misdemeanor that holds a maximum sentence of one year in prison and fines up to $100,000 for an individual and $200,000 for an organization.
The attorney for Hump said in a statement that the restaurant “accepts responsibility for the wrongdoing charged by the U.S. attorney and will agree to pay a fine and resolve this matter in court.”