What a difference a federal misdemeanor charge makes: three days after the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged the owners of the Santa Monica, Ca., sushi restaurant the Hump and its sister restaurant, Typhoon, with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act by serving Sei whale meat, the restaurant has issued a formal apology on its website.
Right under a rotating series of photos entitled “Hand Roll Heaven,” the message states:
As the Santa Monica Daily Press reports, the restaurants’ owners, if convicted, could face a $200,000 fine; a sushi chef who was also charged could pay $100,000. All three parties could face a year in federal prison if convicted.
Prosecutors cracked down on the Hump after being tipped off by the filmmakers behind the documentary The Cove, who had gone undercover using tiny microphones and cameras to catch the Hump in the act of serving whale meat to customers. Given the widespread calls among famously eco-conscious Santa Monicans for the restaurant’s demise, the Hump’s owners may not actually get the opportunity to “put into place” those new procedures.