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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 - December 2007

After some kind of unexpected delay, the December edition of "Statistics on Distribution of Frozen Fishery Products" was made public on Monday 18 at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries homepage.

As I mentioned last week, I've got figures dating back to 2001 now also, so those figures are incorporated into the graphs below.

December 2007 outgoing stock: 448 tonnes

As far as recent times go, the December outgoing figure was very small, well below the recent average level. We have to look back to prior to the commencement of JARPA II to find a similar value for a December. The 2007 figure is roughly equivalent to the 443 tonnes that left stock in December 2002, however in 2002, 443 tonnes was around the monthly average outgoing stock level in that year, whereas 448 for 2007 is about 50% below the 2007 average.

December 2007 incoming stock: 309 tonnes

This level of incoming stock volume for December 2007 is basically the same as that for December 2006 (308 tonnes).

December 2007 end-of-month stockpile: 3,371 tonnes

The net of the normal incoming and low outgoing volumes for the month only saw a minor decline in overall stock levels to the end of 2007.

Nonetheless, the end of December level for 2007 was lower than not only that of 2006 (3,904 tonnes), but also 2005 and 2004 as well (3,511 and 3,634 tonnes respectively).

In recent years, stock levels have fallen around 600 - 700 tonnes from each December to the end of the following February, and on that basis we may expect the stock level to fall to around 2,700 tonnes, before the by-product from the current JARPA II cruise hits the figures in March/April.

However, the situation is a little different this year with the lower than normal outgoing volumes at year end, and additional media attention on whaling in January and February perhaps also likely to benefit sales. On the other side of the coin, wholesale prices were slightly higher in 2007 than in 2006.

Graph: Outgoing stock (cumulative)

Like last month, I've created a graph for outgoing volumes showing the cumulative increase in volume as the year progresses. With the extra figures dating back to 2001, basically the graphs get more crowded, but the pattern doesn't change even if we look back to 2001 - annual outgoing stock volumes in 2006 and 2007 have been way higher than in previous years.

Graph: Incoming stock (cumulative)

And here is the picture for incoming stock. The final gap between 2006 and 2007 is pretty much what you see with the difference between March / April between the two years. Lower incoming stock earlier in the year translates into the gap we see at the end of the year.

Graph: Monthly stockpile movements

Here are the monthly stock movements and overall stock level dating back to the start of 2001. As you can see in the graph, years 2001, 2003 and 2004 all have small incoming spikes at the start of the year than 2002 and 2005. I'll come back to this in a later post.

Graph: Regional whale meat stockpiles

This graph now includes regional figures back to 2001. Furthermore the historical data for 2001 through 2005 I have available includes stockpile figures for not only just the top 7 regions, but all regions surveyed (if you look closely you'll see the number of lines is fewer in the 2006 and 2007 period). I'll look to bring more information about these regions in a subsequent post also. The point that is made with this graph is that significant amounts of stock tend to hit a single location, before initially rapidly, then gradually falling back down again.

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Information on the survey upon which these figures is based can be found here, and my MS Excel compiliation of these figures can be obtained here.

The January 2008 figures are scheduled to be released by the Ministry on March 10. I may not be able to blog them though, in which case I'll possible do a single update with the February figures when they come out in April.

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