It's a whale of a legal tale, but no laughing matter for The Hump, a Santa Monica, California sushi restaurant and sushi chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto who are charged with serving Sei whale to undercover customers investigating the fishy -- actually, mammal -- caper.
The Sei whale is a federally protected marine animal. That makes catching and selling sei whale meat against the law.
What makes this case so brazen, however, is that Yamamoto is charged (see below) with not simply a single offense of selling whale meat to sushi customers, but that it happened multiple times…sometimes together with horse meat.
No, not sea horse meat. Real horse meat. The kind that live on land, run around farms, and have ponies that you or your children may have ridden. That kind of horse meat.
According to an affidavit in the case filed by a federal agent for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there is simply "no permit in existence that authorizes anyone to import, buy, or sell whale meat in the United States.
You can read details of the Sei whale illegal sushi meat indictment here:
- Federal prosecutors charge Santa Monica restaurant with illegal sale of whale meat, Los Angeles Times (Mar. 10, 2010)
- Federal laws at issue: 16 U.S.C. §§1372(a)(4)(B), 1375(b)
- Sei Whale, Canadian Museum of Nature
- Environmental Lawyers
- Criminal Defense Lawyers
- U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California, Los Angeles