U.S. – Yesterday, a Sei whale meat dealer from Gardena was sentenced to two years of probation by the United States Magistrate Judge, Paul L. Abrams. The accused, Ginichi Ohira was illegally providing endangered Sei whale meat to a popular seafood restaurant in Santa Monica called “The Hump”
The case started five years ago, and finally came to an end. Ohira is on probation after it was found that clients from The Hump were not aware about the illegal sei whale meats that were served right in the restaurant’s plates. Furthermore, sei whales are indexed as an endangered species, so it’s a law-protected marine animal and it’s banned from the market.
The investigation started when in 2010 a documentary named “The Cove” privately recorded the sushi chef from the Santa Monica restaurant preparing and serving illegal whale meat. But it was not until 2011, that Ohira had to face one year in prison after he was found guilty of importing and selling endangered whale meat from Tokyo, Japan.
The Gardena seafood dealer violated the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act by selling sei whale meat to The Hump. Thus, the restaurant was forced to shut down after undercover agents and environmental advocates discovered the prohibited situation. Yesterday, Ohira received two years of probation with possible jail time.
Also, the two chefs who were handling the meat and serving it to their customers, were totally aware of its origin. Both of them were fined with $5,000 and ordered to 200 hours of community service during the 2 year long probation. On the other hand, the top restaurant owner Brian Vidor, along with the parent company, Typhoon Restaurant Inc., were also fined and received probation after confessing that he was abreast of what was happening inside The Hump’s kitchens.
United States Attorney Dennis Mitchell said “The case has closed and everyone is pleased. Justice has been done and people who did wrong have been punished.”, NYC News reported.
Source: NYC News