Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
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:
- 696 tonnes is 122 tonnes greater than the amount of whale meat set aside from the JARPA II programme in 2006 for non-profit purposes.
- 696 tonnes is almost 7 times the amount of whale meat that Iceland's whalers have just obtained through their recent hunt of 7 fin whales (about 100 tonnes, according to Kristján Loftsson).
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.
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.
Finally, the raw data sourced from the ministry that I used to generate the graphs above is as follows:
|Month||Stockpile size at previous month end||Incoming stock||Outgoing stock||Stockpile size at current month end|
* all figures in in tonnes
Labels: stockpile figures, whale meat market, Whaling