(Reuters) - A California sushi chef and the restaurant in which he worked have been charged with illegally serving meat from an endangered Sei whale, the Justice Department said on Thursday.
Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 45, and the parent company of the popular restaurant The Hump in Santa Monica were charged late on Wednesday with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act which makes it illegal to sell any kind of whale meat.
The case stemmed from informants who ordered whale meat at the restaurant in October 2009 and evolved into a sting operation by U.S. wildlife and customs officials who observed whale meat being served at the restaurant last week.
"Someone should not be able to walk into a restaurant and order a plate of an endangered species," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement. …