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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 - September 2007

Here's the latest update on whale meat stockpiles. The Ministry's figures are here (PDF, Excel).

September 2007 outgoing stock: 486 tonnes

As was the case in August, the September outgoing stock figure is smaller than that for the same month in 2006 - 486 tonnes is 70% of the figure for September 2006.

October also tends to be a slow month, so the figures in the next update may be similar.

September 2007 incoming stock: 825 tonnes

September's incoming stock was 29% higher than for September 2006. Last month the August figures were lower than for August 2006, so over the two months there was probably no great difference.

We'll see below in the regional stockpile figures where all this meat was ending up.

September 2007 end-of-month stockpile: 4,214 tonnes

Overall, tonnage back over 4,000 tonnes for the first time since May, but still lower than at the same point in time last year. 4,214 is 81% of the September 2006 figure.

Graph: Annual volumes

Incoming stock advances ahead of outgoing stock a little this month, but with the November JARPN II auction still to be reflected into these figures, we're likely to see the outgoing stock figure for the year leap ahead of incoming by the year's end.

Graph: Monthly stockpile movements

Incoming stock has probably done it's dash for the year, and it's likely to be all downhill for the stockpile from now until March/April next year. If you look back on the same period for previous years, the green outgoing stock line is always above the yellow incoming stock like over the northern winter months.

Graph: 12-month moving averages

The outgoing stock average looks as if it may have found close to it's potential level under current supply conditions. The incoming stock value is unlikely to move much further up until February / March next year. My guess is that the outgoing average will not be far below 700 tonnes per average month by the time the year is out.

Graph: Regional whale meat stockpiles

Stock supplies are gradually being exhausted in Tokyo, and Ishinomaki is now by far home to the biggest chunk of the stockpile, seemingly being the recipient region of the JARPN II by-product. Meanwhile, you can't see it on the graph, but traditional whale consumption region Nagasaki has made it back into the top 7 stockpile locations at the expense of Kanazawa, which had been at the top of the heap last year. Kushiro is the location with the third biggest stockpile, but Tokyo looks likely to drop below Kushiro to number 3 over the next couple of months.

* * *

October figures are scheduled to be released on December 12.

* * *

In the news, a certain organization claims that:
"Japan has close to 4,000 tons of whale meat ... in cold storage - uneaten, unsold, and unwanted."
The 4,000 tonne figure is right (as of the end of September), but the suggestion that this meat is unwanted seems as if it would be news to the distributers here in Japan.


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