How do you take the fame and publicity of a recent Oscar win and parlay that momentum for a good cause? Well, how about conducting nothing short of a sting operation to expose the selling of an endangered and protected whale?
Louie Psihoyos, the director of “The Cove,” a documentary of the perilous and urgent battles between eco-activist and Japanese officials over dolphin hunting, did just that. He and his team, equipped with tiny hidden cameras, hit up a famous Los Angeles sushi restaurant, The Hump, and ordered an omakase (a dinner created by a sushi chef who prepared the house’s most prized and special items.). The “covert-ops” team was served two pieces of fleshy pink slices that the server called kujira. The diners allegedly heard the staff refer to the sushi as whale several times and stashed a morsel of the flesh into a plastic bag with great clandestine care for further DNA testing.
Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University tested the samples and concluded that the meat was, in fact, from a Sei whale.
Department of Commerce and the United States attorney in Los Angeles are conducting investigation. If these alleged claims are proven true, the restaurant will be in violation of federal laws of selling marine mammals.
This isn’t just about saving whales,” said Psihoyos, the director of “The Cove,” a documentary that chronicles eco-activists’ battles with Japanese officials over dolphin hunting. “But about saving the planet.”
If you haven’t seen the powerful film, The Cove, check out the trailer here: