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“The Cove” Crew Strikes Again…

22 March 2010

The Cove activists were instrumental, through a sting operation, in uncovering what a California high-end sushi restaurant, The Hump, was really selling. The Hump, not surprisingly, is  now closed. What may not have been expected: the owner is repentant.

A sushi restaurant called the Hump that federal prosecutors found was surreptitiously serving whale meat has closed its doors, and its owner has posted a remarkable mea culpa on its Web site.“Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court,” the statement reads. “The owner of the Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species.”

This month, armed with tiny video cameras and microphones, the team behind “The Cove,” the Oscar-winning documentary film about dolphin hunting, created its own undercover operation at the Hump, at the Santa Monica airport. The group bagged up samples of tender meat served in a costly omakase — or chef’s choice dinner — and sent them to a scientist in Oregon, who determined the meat to be Sei whale, an endangered species.

The filmmakers took their findings to federal law enforcement officials, who brought charges against the restaurant and its chef for selling marine mammals, a misdemeanor that could carry up to a year in prison and a $200,000 fine. The charges were not contested….

… posted on the restaurant’s Web site was a lengthy statement that said, in part, ‘The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species.’ ….

Sei whales, found worldwide, are endangered but are sometimes hunted in the North Pacific under a controversial Japanese scientific program. It is highly unusual for a restaurant to serve the meat in the United States. (from The New York Times, 3/21/10)

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