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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 price hike amidst "sense of stock shortage" - Nikkei

Japan's leading economic newspaper, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) carried a report on wholesale whale meat prices yesterday:
Whale meat wholesale prices raised for the first time in 10 years

Whale meat wholesale prices have risen for the first time in 10 years. This
is due to a strong sense of stock shortage following a decrease in supply due to
a fire accident on a research whaling vessel, and a recovery in demand since the
latter half of last year. The percentage price rise for product categories such
as red meat and blubber was an average of 7%. At the current time the effect of
the price rise hasn't been observed in shop prices, but amongst retailers there
are concerned voices that "if wholesale prices rise further, it may throw cold
water on the recovery in whale meat popularity".

Whale meat is sold by the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research
foundation ("Geiken", Chuo, Tokyo) as a "by-product" of research whaling.
Research is mainly conducted twice a year, in the Antarctic Ocean and in the
western North Pacific. This year in February, the mother ship "Nisshin Maru"
suffered a fire outbreak while in the Antarctic. The research was cancelled and
the ship returned to Japan with approximately 2,100 tonnes of whale meat,
approximately 60% of what was scheduled. (19:01)

No surprises in this for regular readers of this blog (I suggested upward pressure on retail prices in my previous whale meat stockpile update), but it's worth noting that Japan's leading economic newspaper has picked up on the story.

One thing in the article that I don't agree with is the suggestion that whale popularity has only been increasing since the second half of last year. The 12-month moving average outgoing whale meat stock figures in the stockpile figures I have been covering indicates that consumption has been increasing since at least the beginning of 2005.

Furthermore, given that whale meat prices are still relatively high (even before this 7% price hike), I believe that limited supply has had a capping effect on consumption (as opposed to low demand). The report from an anti-whaling journalist last year of a whale meat "glut" was seemingly accepted by the media without any critical analysis.

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Unfortunately we have to admit that the price of whale eat is gradually increasing as a whole.

But,as we see, prices are changing at markets every day.In fact,at some dapartment stores in Osaka,I sometimes see the whalemeat (mainly minke whale) is sold in discount sale.The other day,at Kintetsu Dapartment store,I found the price of the minke whale meat ( for Sashimi)was about 300yen/100g ! This was the nice price.So I bought 300G and made "Tatutaage". My family enjoyed
it very much.

So,I do not think we need worry
ahout the price very much.

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