Just 10 days after federal charges were filed against chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and restaurant owner Typhoons Restaurant Inc. for serving endangered whale meat, The Hump is closing its own doors at the Santa Monica Airport.
Calling it a “self-imposed” punishment, a statement on the Hump’s Web site read, “The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species.”
Although the restaurant was at the airport for twelve years, it was only within the last few weeks that news spread nationwide that the restaurant served endangered sei whale, which is listed as an endangered species and is illegal to sell in the United States under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This crime is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000.
The Hump sold whale sushi to customers on three occasions since October, according to the criminal complaint filed against the restaurant, some straight from the trunk of a Mercedes. Federal agents and activists cooperated in a sting that filmed a waitress serving eight pieces what she called “whale,” according to the affidavit provided by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.
The Hump attorney Gary Lincenberg had previously said that they accepted responsibility for the wrongdoing charged by the U.S. attorney and would resolve the matter in court.
However, the statement on the Web site said that the self-closing, on top of a fine (that will to be meted out by the court) and “additional action to save endangered species” taken by the owner, appear to be statements aimed at bringing closure to the matter.
The owner promises to make a “substantial contribution to one or more responsible organizations dedicated to the preservation of whales and other endangered species.”
“The Hump apologizes to our loyal customers, the community of Santa Monica, and the public at large for our illegal actions,” read the ending of the Statement. “While the current difficulties faced by The Hump overshadow the many friendships formed over the years, we want our customers and friends to know how much we thank you for your support.”
Mirror Contributing Writerstaff@smmirror.com