A sushi chef in California faces a year in prison and up to $100,000 in fines after being charged with serving endangered whale meat at his restaurant.
The chef at popular Santa Monica eatery The Hump, was charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act by serving the meat of the Sei Whale. The restaurant was also named in the charges.
“Someone should not be able to walk into a restaurant and order a plate of an endangered species,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement.
Wildlife and Customs officials undertook a sting operation at the restaurant to catch them whale-handed.
Two confidential informants ordered whale meat from the chef, who then went to the parking lot and came back with a package of meat and began slicing it.
When prodded by another customer about the mystery meat, the chef “quietly said that it was ‘whale.’” and then served it to the informants.