Cove Oscar Winners Stage Sting at LA Sushi Joint

Filmmakers go undercover to find illegal whale meat
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2010 11:05 AM CST
Cove Oscar Winners Stage Sting at LA Sushi Joint
Two minke whales are seen before dismantlement at a fishery processing factory in Kushiro, Hokkaido prefecture, Japan.   (AP Photo)

The makers of The Cove, the Oscar-winning documentary about dolphin killing in Japan, have aimed their cameras closer to home in a sting to expose illegal whale meat served at a California sushi joint. The operation began in October, when they heard rumors that the Hump, a Santa Monica restaurant, was selling the endangered Sei whale. After identifying the meat and alerting federal authorities, the filmmakers decided to revisit the restaurant when they were all in town for the Oscars, the New York Times reports.

The team revisited the restaurant on Feb. 28, where they texted details of the whale they were being served to federal agents stationed in the parking lot. The agents then repeated the sting, and executed a search warrant on Friday. Charges could come this week; selling whale can get you a year in jail. Though the Sei whale is endangered, it is often hunted by Japan’s fleet of whaling vessels in the name of science. (More The Cove stories.)

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