A southern California seafood vendor accused of illegally importing whale meat and selling it to sushi restaurants may be saying “Sayonara!” to life on the outside. Ginichi Y. Ohira pleaded guilty to selling meat from whales killed near Japan and faces up to one year in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $100,000. Considering that he has allegedly been supporting the Japanese slaughter of whales for 10 years, we wouldn’t mind seeing the court throw the book at Ohira when he is sentenced in September.
Ohira sold sei whale meat, illegal in the U.S. under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, to Los Angeles sushi restaurant The Hump, where the Oscar-winning filmmakers of the The Cove discovered it. They alerted the feds and got The Hump charged, and it subsequently shut down. Now it’s Ohira’s turn to face the music.
While it is illegal to eat whales in the States, these majestic animals—as well as dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life—are still snared as “bycatch” in fishing nets. You can help protect dolphins, whales, and other sea animals by opting for veggie sushi rolls, faux fish, and other ocean-friendly vegan options.
Written by Michelle Sherrow