Santa Monica News
SANTA MONICA — Two sushi chefs pled guilty to misdemeanor crimes on February 10 stemming from the illegal sale of whale meat.
Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda decided to plead guilty to three misdemeanor offenses of conspiracy and the offering and sale of Sei whale meat during their tenure at the now defunct restaurant The Hump, which closed its doors in 2010. They could face up to a $20,000 fine and up to three years each in prison.
The chefs were indicted in the case, alongside the restaurant's owner, Typhoon Restaurants, Inc., for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), specifically referred to as Title 16 of the U.S. Code, sections 1372 (a)(4)(b), which protects endangered aquatic species like the Sei whale.
Court documents alleged that the chefs, under approval of the restaurant's owner, would purchase the whale meat from a fish importer named Ginichi Ohira, who pleaded guilty to importing whale meat in June 2011. Ohiria, after shipping in the whale meat from
The chefs and the restaurant were exposed when the filmmakers of 2010's “The Cove” discreetly caught the chefs selling the meat, according to a report from The Guardian. The documentary followed a group of activists that secretly filmed the animal abuse done to dolphins near the Japanese city of
According to Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S Attorney’s office in
Canyon News reached out to Ueda's attorney, James W. Sepertus, who noted his client's regret for having participated in the act. “Mr. Ueda has accepted his responsibility for the misdemeanor offenses for which he was charged,” Mr. Spertus said.
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