Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
One possibly often overlooked fact about Japan's whale meat stockpile, is that it is actually dispersed in various locations. There are multiple stockpiles, and the "whale meat stockpile" figure that we hear about is actually the sum of these stockpiles located in various regions.
The official frozen marine product stock figures
that I have been graphing lately have included data about the top stockpile locations since January this year (unfortunately not prior to that).
So let's take a look at another graph:
This graph shows the level of stocks in frozen storage at the month end per region.
Kanazawa, a port city on the Sea of Japan coast, suddenly starts to feature as of the April month-end figures. The reason for this is because no figures were available for Kanazawa for the previous 3 months of the year (presumably because Kanazawa wasn't in the top 7 then). The sudden huge influx of whale meat stock was due to the return of the JARPA II fleet from the Antarctic, which returned back to Japan arriving at Kanazawa.
It appears that the other smaller chunk of the JARPA II by-product whale meat that hit the stockpile figures in March found it's way into Tokyo warehouses, which were previously almost empty, at just around 80 tonnes.
For Hakodate (which only appears in the most recent figures, since August month-end and September) the story is probably similar to Kanazawa. The JARPN II research appears to have used Hakodate as a base, resulting in the sudden jump from nowhere to more than 1,000 tonnes at the end of August. Kushiro (in July) also appears to be the location for another portion of the JARPN II by-products.
Meanwhile, the major consumer markets of Tokyo and Osaka appear to have seen an influx of stocks from Kanazawa during July, coinciding with the sale of JARPA II by-products that was held from July 3rd to August 3rd (from this ICR press release
Note that the sale of the 1,897.8 tonnes JARPN II products is scheduled for between November 29 and January 9 '07 (as seen in this other ICR press release
), so the level of stocks in Hakodate, Ishinomaki and Kushiro, where this meat appears to be located, should remain at fairly high levels until the December month end.
The official figures only provide the top 7 regions per month, and the graphing tool I'm using only allows me up to 6 lines, so I've not included all the figures available. For the record, Yokohama, Shimonoseki and Nagasaki were the other 3 locations that made it into the top 7 in any of the 9 months for which figures are available. In brief:
- Nagasaki's stockpile was well less than 100 tonnes each month
- Shimonoseki's stockpile was roughly around 100 tonnes each month
- Yokohama's stockpile was quite high January month-end at 404 tonnes, but steadily decreased month by month and dropped out of the top 7 by August month-end
But back to the graph - here it is again in a stacked bar format, so we can see the grand total:
From this it appears that the top 7 stockpile regions account for between 85% and 90% of all frozen stocks indicated in the official figures.
An interesting feature is that, with the exception of Tokyo in January and February, stockpile levels in Tokyo and Osaka are reasonably stable, unlike Ishinomaki and Kushiro, which exhibit a fairly consistant decreasing trend for the first several months of the year.
With little incoming stock scheduled before the approximately 3,500 tonnes of JARPA II meat likely to arrive in March and April 2007, it will be interesting to watch how the various stockpiles decrease over the coming months, particularly with regard to Tokyo and Kanazawa, which I assume will be recipient to the by-products again next year.
* * *
As an aside, AFP apparently reported that
"Whale meat consumption in Japan dropped sharply after the commercial moratorium but has since been growing" This is first time in a long while that a western media source has made a statement
that actually reconciles with official stockpile figures. Well done AFP.
Labels: stockpile figures, Whaling