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Sashimi From Scientific Whales

In their paper published in Biology Letters, lead author Baker and colleagues from the Korean Federation of Environmental Movements also report on 13 whale products purchased at a sushi restaurant in Seoul, South Korea, during two 2009 visits. The sushi was part of a mixed plate of whale sashimi; genetic testing by Baker and OSU’s Debbie Steel determined that four of the products were from an Antarctic minke whale, four were from a sei whale, three were from a North Pacific minke whale, one was from a fin whale, and one was from a Risso’s dolphin.

Things started heating up at The Hump when “The Cove” director Louie Psihoyos and assistant director Charles Hambleton covertly filmed the serving of whale products. Following initial identification of the samples taken from the restaurant, the products were turned over to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s law enforcement division and in March, federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against the restaurant.

The misdemeanor charge carries a federal prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $200,000 for the company, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

In good news for whales (and horses too, another “delicacy” served by the restaurant), The Hump is now closed.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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10:02AM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

These Japanese need to abandon this disgraceful tradition of hunting and eating Whale meat and find something not endangered to chomp down on...thanks.

7:14AM PDT on Apr 8, 2013


9:53AM PDT on Oct 31, 2012

That's the cruel truth of the Japan whale killing for "research"... their research is about who will pay more for their meat. As allways it's just about the money...

2:47AM PDT on May 2, 2012


3:36PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

I agree with Lisa M...certain things are happening on this planet because others want something--and they don't care what they have to do to get it. If it wasn't wanted--same as rhino horn, bear bile, etc---because individuals believe those things can do something for them--there wouldn't be rhino killings or bear bile farms--or whale, horse, or dolphin on menus. Reading about this disgusting restaurant reminds me of a movie called 'The Freshman' with Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick. Part of the movie has this big fancy dinner where people have paid tons of money to eat exotic animals. One was alligator (not so exotic anymore I guess >

8:19AM PST on Feb 26, 2012


2:59PM PST on Feb 25, 2012


4:16AM PDT on Mar 15, 2011

It is nothing to do with science but it is just only human greed.

9:46AM PST on Jan 11, 2011

I'm not sure what's worse; Japan lying about using the captured whales to turn into meat, or Norway and Iceland not even having the decency to feel ashamed for their whaling habits.

5:51AM PDT on Oct 29, 2010

Thanks for the article.

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people are talking

Thanks for sharing.

Maybe try tomorrow. Why did they cut his sad.


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