Owners of the Santa Monica sushi restaurant The Hump have issues an apology for serving endangered whale meat.
The dubious menu item caused a financial and PR nightmare for the owners after a sting operation involving the producers of the Academy Award winning The Cove and federal agencies discovered the illegal meat.
If convicted, the restaurant team faces a fine of $200,000, while the chef faces a $100,000 fine. All parties could serve a year in federal prison, according to federal prosecutors.
“The charge against the restaurant is true: The Hump served whale meat to customers looking to eat what in Japan is widely served as a delicacy,” The Hump’s owners said in a statement on the restaurant’s Web site, www.thehump.biz. “In serving this meat, The Hump ignored its responsibilities to help save endangered whales from extinction and failed to support the world community in its uphill fight to protect all endangered species.
“While The Hump cannot undo the damage it caused, it will put into place procedures to ensure that it strictly complies with the laws and becomes a good corporate citizen. We sincerely apologize. We pledge to work hard to re-earn the trust of the public and respect of our customers.”
City officials, which own the space where the two restaurants are located, have not yet decided if they will evict the two sushi shops.