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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Whale meat stockpile update for September 2006 figures

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan has today released the official frozen marine product stock figures for the month of September 2006.

UPDATE 11/17: I have now summarized all this here at my Whaling-FAQ.

In brief, outgoing stock (a consumption indicator) was again higher in September 2006 than in the same month in the previous 2 years for which figures are available, following the trend of previous months. However, the high amount of incoming stock meant that the sum of the stockpiles only decreased slightly over the course of the month. Decreases in stockpiles should be more significant in coming months, as supply is expected to be largely limited to whale meat from by-catch until early Spring.

In detail, I have again extracted the relevant figures specific to whale meat stockpiles from the official frozen marine product stockpile figures, and updated my graphs to reflect the latest data (a raw table of which is available further down the page).


Monthly outgoing stock figures since to February 2004:

click on graph for larger version

Outgoing stock volume (an indication of consumption) for September 2006 was 246 tonnes higher than in September 2005, or an approximate increase of 55%. This is a continuation of the increasing consumption trend (on an annualized basis) that is evident from figures of previous months.

To put the September volume of outgoing stock into perspective:

Monthly incoming stock figures since to February 2004:

click on graph for larger version

Incoming stocks in September were roughly between the high level of supply in 2004 and the lower level in 2005.

Stockpile movement

click on graph for larger version

UPDATE 11/10: Fixed graph - values corrected to reflect figures from October 2005 to September 2006

Incoming supply for September was relatively high compared to other months, so despite the large amount of outgoing stock, the sum of stockpiles around the country remained at 5,222 tonnes at the month end - a minor reduction of 52 tonnes.

In October's figures (due out this time next month) there will probably be some additional whale meat supply due to the tail end of lethal research activity (although fewer whales than usual were caught in one research programme due to weather conditions). However, we can generally expect incoming stock to be limited between now and next March or so, when the by-products from the JARPA II research programmes will start to hit the stockpile figures.

If consumption retains recent levels through until February 2007, we can expect the stockpiles to be reduced below the low levels seen in February 2006 and March 2005. This is despite the significant increase in supply due to the commencement of the JARPA II programme this in the austral summer of 2005/2006.

Raw Data

Finally, the raw data sourced from the ministry that I used to generate the graphs above is as follows:

MonthStockpile size at previous month endIncoming stockOutgoing stockStockpile size at current month end
Feb '0532761563843048
Mar '0530481493602837
Apr '05283720503484539
May '0545391093184330
Jun '0543301453834092
Jul '0540928797454226
Aug '05422613257474804
Sep '0548042104504564
Oct '0545622075514220
Nov '0542201955253890
Dec '0538902476263511
Jan '0635122245513185
Feb '0631851494362898
Mar '06289815398273610
Apr '06361029205615969
May '0659691293575741
Jun '0657411634145490
Jul '06549090517234672
Aug '06467213877855274
Sep '0652746446965222
* all figures in in tonnes

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Thank you for your updated
report of whalemeat stock.
The data shows whale meat
is steadily bought by many
Japanese people.

David-san ,the following
is the topic talked at a Japanese

An anti-whaling stupid guy is persistently appealing how smaller
the available treatise(from Japan)
is in number.

I know JARPA is highly estimated
by SC of IWC because it gives much
data to the both sides of pro &
anti whaling.

But,he absolutely denies it.

I would appreciate if you
give me some comments.

The Japanese program in the Antarctic(JARPA) has similar problems.JARPA has been conducted for 16 yearsand has to date killed over 5900 minkewhales.Yet as was noted in last year’s SC discussions, the value of JARPA’s work to management is certainly not apparent in its publication record, which is remarkably poor for a scientific effort on this scale. Aron and colleagues’pointing to “over 150 articles”resulting from JARPA is highly misleading:The list to which they refer readers (see www.whalesci.org/contribution) includes only a single paper (Kishino et al. 1991) that concerns IWC assessment needs and that is published in an international peer-reviewed journal; 19 similar papers were published by IWC. The remaining 137 “publications”consist of
cruise or progress reports (7), unpublished IWC papers (58), SC meeting reports(14), Japanese theses (6), conference presentations (40, many of which
repeat the same unrefereed and irrelevant results in multiple forums), and peer-reviewed articles (12) on topics of
no value to management(e.g., “postthawing viability of frozen spermatozoa of male minke whales”. JARPA’s failure
to publish in international refereed journals says much about the quality and motives of its science.


The person you are talking to is simply copying and pasting text from a paper, entitled "Whaling as Science", written by a handful of members of the IWC Scientific Committee. The opinions in that paper are just the opinions of the authors - and have certainly not been agreed upon by the IWC Scientific Committee. Indeed their criticisms appear to ignore the positive comments that have been passed by the IWC Scientific Committee reviews on Japan's programmes.

The IWC's homepage has some comments from the IWC Scientific Committee review of the JARPA programme at it's half-way point in 1997:

"The Committee also commented that the programme is providing information leading to a substantial improvement in knowledge of stock structure although further work is required"

"The Committee also noted that the programme is contributing useful information on the role of minke whales in the Antarctic ecosystem, particularly with information on feeding and energetics, as well as providing some information relevant to the Committee’s work on pollution studies and the effect of environmental change on cetaceans."

"The Committee also noted that while JARPA results were not required for management under the Revised Management Procedure (RMP), they had the potential to improve it in the following ways: (1) reductions in the current set of plausible scenarios considered in RMP Implementation Simulation Trials; and (2) identification of new scenarios to which future Implementation Simulation Trials will have to be developed (e.g. the temporal component of stock structure). The results of analyses of JARPA might allow an increased allowed catch of minke whales in the Southern Hemisphere without increasing the depletion risk above the level indicated by the existing Implementation Simulation Trials for these minke whales."

The full report from this review is available online as well.

The IWC Scientific Committee will conduct another review of the JARPA programme in just a few weeks time in early December, here in Tokyo. The report from this review will be made publicly available at the IWC's meeting next year.

With regards to the JARPN programme, here are some further comments:

"The Committee agreed that the information obtained was useful for management as it had been and will continue to be used in the refinement of Implementation Simulation Trials for North Pacific common minke whales."

The ICR also provides a response to this criticism:

Thank you for your quick reply.
Your comments are very available
to let the stupid know the fact.

Although I do not know JARPA in datails,it is quite easy for us to guess the data is useful to both sides of pro or against.

Without JARPA,how should we can
take the data,I wonder?
The clear thing,as you point out, is that JARPA is highly evaluated
by a large number of scientists.

Many thanks.

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