The winners of this year's Oscar for best feature-length documentary took advantage of their trip to California to perform double-duty work at a high-class sushi restaurant in the Santa Monica airport last week, where they had heard that whale meat was being served to high-flying clientele who pay as much as $600 each for a meal of exotic sushi. As they had in a Japanese village, where they documented the annual dolphin slaughter for their documentary The Cove , the filmmakers, headed by director Louis Psihoyos, used hidden cameras and microphones at the Hump restaurant, where members of the crew placed whale meat in baggies, slipped it out of the restaurant, and then sent it to a lab for analysis. Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, who examined the samples, told the Los Angeles Times that they were from a Sei whale, which are found worldwide and are endangered. "I've been doing this for years," he told the newspaper. "I was pretty shocked." Two days before the Oscars, the Times said, federal officials raided the restaurant to collect evidence of violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

10/03/2010