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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



2008 JARPA II by-product sale

The ICR released details about the upcoming sale of the JARPA II research by-product whale meat last week, bringing some clarity to the situation with the stockpile and the recent ministry statistics released for April 2008.

The ICR press release states that 327.9 tons of whale meat from JARPA has been allocated for "public purposes" this year (this includes the portion set aside for use in school lunches, etc). Last year 344.8 tons were allocated for this purpose, so the amount available in 2008 drops by 5%.

The rest of the by-product, 1654.6 tons, is destined to be disposed of on the market between July 7 and August 9, in wholesale markets around the nation.

So, a total of 1982.5 tons of whale meat resulted from JARPA II this year.

If we reconcile this back against the April 2008 stockpile figures released early last month, we see that 2,021 tons of whale meat were reported as entering whale meat stockpiles for the month. Most of this evidently entered a facility or facilities in Tokyo, with possibly a small portion in Kawasaki, and perhaps a another small portion not coming under the survey coverage. But from the numbers it appears the survey reflects the new available stock pretty well, almost all of the April incoming stock volume is obviously accounted for by the JARPA by-product influx.

Note, however, that as this new stock isn't on sale until July 7, the stockpile figures for May and June will include up to 1982.5 tons of whale meat that isn't actually available for sale. The actual available amount of whale meat in the stockpile as of the end of April was the April 2008 end-of-month stockpile figure (3,640 tons) less approximately the total by-product (1982.5 tons), hence a maximum 1657.5 tons of the whale meat represented in these figures was available for consumption as of the end of April. With more than two months before the start of the sale of the JARPA by-product, clearly stocks are relatively low at the present time.

Also noted in the ICR press release were decisions regarding the pricing of various types of meat. Overall, prices are to be on average 6.1% higher than the meat that sold after last year's JARPN cruise. The ICR notes the increasing costs of fuel as being a factor behind the increase.

However, related articles (here and here) from the Sankei newspaper suggest that the price increases were also influenced by the lower volume of product available due to the obstruction of the JARPA cruise by Sea Shepherd. The Sankei says that red meat prices will be raised by an average of 70 yen per kilogram to 2,060 yen, high grade Unesu meat will go up 250 yen to 4,000, but some other types of cuts will actually be lowered in price as well.

The Asahi newspaper also reported on the matter, suggesting that the ICR has a short fall in funds, and additional support for the ICR is hoped to be provided by the OFCF, although the article doesn't mention specifics.

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So let me get this straight; Watson and his sea sheep are actually creating more value for the whalers?!


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