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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 October 2006 figures

Today the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan released the October figures for the volumes of frozen marine products in circulation, including of course whale meat (item 35 in the figures).

Incidentally, the Ministry also revamped their statistics pages and the figures can now be access from a new URL: http://www.maff.go.jp/www/info/bunrui/bun06.html.

As for the whale meat stockpile figures, they indicate that it was a relatively slow month all round.

Outgoing stock

Just 493 tonnes of outgoing stock for the month of October, 58 tonnes below the corresponding 2005 figure of 551. Nonetheless, the 493 tonne figure is still 35% higher than the corresponding 2004 figure of 364.

Incoming stock

The offshore component of the JARPN II programme concluded in August, and after that the coastal component of the JARPN II programme was conducted near Kushiro, Hokkaido. Reports (such as this Japanese press release from the ministry) indicated that while weather conditions in the first part of September were excellent, from the end of September through to the conclusion of the programme in October, unusual weather conditions saw limited numbers of whales taken (35 minkes in total for the two months, up to 60 were permitted to be taken).

Total stockpile movement

The volume of frozen whale meat overall dropped from the end of September figure of 5,222 tonnes down to 4,962 tonnes.

It now looks as though, unless there are some rather strong consumption figures over the next 4 months, the overall level of stocks in February 2007 will probably be higher than in 2006, although seen in the context of the massive increase in supply due to JARPA II's commencement in 2005/2006, the increase in consumption is still significant, as is the overall trend.


1) Here's the updated annual graph showing incoming stocks alongside outgoing stocks. Still with figures for November and December outstanding, 2006 consumption is well above that of 2005 - already 14% higher with two months of the year to go:

2) By region, the biggest change in major stockpile locations was in Kanazawa, where stocks fell by more than 100 tonnes. The JARPA II fleet will (I assume) be returning to this port in April, so the strategy is probably to clear out those stock warehouses in preparation. If the previous January and February's figures are anything to go by we should also expect to see the Tokyo stockpiles start to drop over the next couple of months as well.

3) Incoming stocks graph update. Nothing much special here, supply was only slightly higher in October 2006 than 2005.

4) Outgoing stocks graph update. This one is a little more interesting, because for only the second time for which figures are available, the outgoing stock level did not better the figure from the same month in the previous year (the other occurrence was when the 2005 February figure came in below that of 2004). As I noted earlier though, the October 2006 figure was still significantly higher than that of 2004. Next month's figures should be interesting.

5) Finally, the cumulative 12-month graph. For the 12 months to the end of October incoming stock was 741 tonnes higher than outgoing stock, or in other words, outgoing stock for the 12 months was 91.5% of incoming stock volume.

Raw Figures

I'm maintaining a full set of raw figures in English based on the official ministry figures at FAQ #5 of my Whaling FAQ (scroll to the bottom).

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