- California Sushi Chefs Face Felony Charges for Importing Whale Meat
- Canadian Humane Society International Offers $1K Reward to Nab Seal Killers
- Australia Protests Japanese Whaling Vessels in Their Waters
Two sushi chefs from now-closed sushi restaurant Hump in Santa Monica, California face felony charges for illegally importing whale meat from a Japanese national. Together with the restaurant’s parent company, Typhoon Restaurant Inc, they have been charged with 9 counts of conspiracy to import and sell Sei whale meat between 2007 – 2010, which is a federal violation of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Japanese national has pleaded guilty to selling a marine mammal product, and claims that he would receive the meat from Japan, invoice it incorrectly to the restaurant as “fatty tuna,” and then deliver it to the establishment, an arrangement that took place over the course of 3 years. If convicted, the head sushi chef faces 67 years in a federal prison, while the other faces 10. Typhoon Restaurant Inc could be looking at fines of $1.2 million. The revelation came as a result of a sting operation coordinated by animal activists, a federal agent, and the associate producer of the documentary The Cove.
Following the grisly discovery of 50 seals that had been bludgeoned to death and washed ashore on the eastern coast of Prince Edward Island, the Canadian branch of Humane Society International (HSI) is offering a $1,000 reward to help find who is responsible for the brutal killings. A necropsy showed that the animals had each been savaged with a blunt object, and they did not die quickly; all the animals were left to freeze where they had been attacked, and were discovered dead or dying by a group of veterinary students. Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans euthanized many of the still-living seal pups. Because the massacre was not part of any sanctioned seal cull, HSI is asking that the parties responsible be charged under both the Fisheries Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
Australia’s Environment Minister Tony Burke has restated that Japanese whaling vessels are absolutely not welcome within their exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Southern Ocean, a sentiment that the Australian embassy in Tokyo has made clear to the Japanese government. Australia is pursuing legal action against Japan’s continued whaling, arguing that their claim of necessity for scientific research is a guise for commercial whaling, which has been banned internationally since 1986. A Japanese security vessel for the whaling fleet flaunted the regulations over Australia’s EEZ last season when it was observed sailing near Macquarie Island.