Photo: The Cove
But the makers of the film have not finished uncovering marine abuse. According to the New York Times, the filmmakers (who include actor Fisher Stevens) initiated a sting operation on a Los Angeles restaurant (ironically called "The Hump") after hearing from friends that whale was on its menu.
Associate producer Charles Hambleton sent two activists who posed as diners and ordered an omakase meal. (Omakase basically means "chef's choice" and you allow the chef to select what food he will be serving you. It's a special meal and usually costs more, as the quality is expected to be the best.)
Sure enough, the waitress served the activists a dish described as "whale." (The terminology was confirmed by a marine mammal professor.) One of the diners was Crystal Galbraith; she told Slashfood she participated in all the sting operations. "Before I went I had Googled images of whale meat so I knew what it would look like, but it was still pretty shocking to be served it," she confessed.
Last week the filmmakers and federal agents returned to the restaurant and were once again served whale meat, which is illegal in the U.S. Stiff fines of up to $20,000 and a year in jail are possible punishments.
"We were happy to get the feds involved so it was official and something could be done," says Galbraith. She also says that she has heard of two other restaurants in Los Angeles also serving illegal sushi.
The Cove is now available on DVD.
Related: The Cove Filmmakers Bust Restaurant for Serving Whale [Grub Street]