Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda, two sushi chefs who worked at a Santa Monica, CA, restaurant, each plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges in exchange for providing evidence against the owners of the restaurant, The Hump, where they were employed. The establishment went out of business in 2010, but the saga lives on after the two former chefs plead guilty to buying and serving illegally imported whale parts to buyers off menu.
The Oceanic Preservation Society and their boss, “The Cove” director Louie Psihoyos, launched a series of sting operations starting in 2009 against the restaurant to uncover the nauseating details of this illegal operation, which is in violation of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Psihoyos said in regards to the buying and selling of whale meat that the restaurant was “also killing live turtles at the table and draining blood into wine glasses for customers. The evil that went on in that kitchen was beyond comprehension. They even had a sign on the door warning that if you didn’t want to see animals suffer—don’t sit at the sushi bar.”
Local seafood dealer, Ginichi Ohira, bought nearly $15,400 worth of whale meat in different forms from a Japanese supplier, labeled it “fatty tuna” and sold it to sushi restaurants in the Los Angeles area. Court documents show that Ueda and Yamamoto obtained approximately 11 pounds of the illegal whale meat from the local supplier and will be facing the consequences in federal court. With a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison on the table, prosectors are recommending a $5,000 fine along with 200 hours of community service as punishment.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock