Sei Whale Sushi Sting: The Hump Restaurant Busted by "The Cove" Producers for Allegedly Serving Whale

The Hump (Credit: AP/Reed Saxon)
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (CBS/AP) A Santa Monica restaurant is accused of serving the illegal meat of endangered Sei whales.

Federal prosecutors have filed charges against the sushi chef and the Santa Monica restaurant, The Hump.

Typhoon Restaurant Inc., which owns The Hump restaurant, and 45-year-old Kiyoshiro Yamamoto of Culver City, were charged Wednesday with illegally selling an endangered species product, a misdemeanor.

Two undercover diners requested whale as part of a $600 "chef's choice" meal. The women were working with producers of the Oscar-winning documentary, "The Cove," to videotape the meal.

Court records say they pocketed a sample, and testing confirmed it was Sei whale meat.

An attorney for Typhoon, Gary Lincenberg, says the restaurant accepts responsibility and will agree to pay a fine. If convicted, the company could be fined $200,000.

Yamamoto faces a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, if convicted. His attorney, Mark Byrne, declined to comment.