Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
UPDATED 11/16: Graphs added
The September update of the MAFF official whale meat stockpile statistics, extracted from their monthly release
Some days back the ICR put out their regular announcement about meat volumes
from the JARPN programme conducted in the western North-Pacific during the Northern summer. The total volume was 1,888.4 tons. 59 Minkes, 50 Bryde's and 100 Sei whales, and 2 Sperm whales were taken this year, and a translation of the table shown in the Japanese release is below (units in tons):
| || Minke || Bryde's || Sei || Sperm || Total |
| (1) Public use || 29.6 || 67.5 || 215.1 || - || 312.2 |
|(2) Market use || 143.5 || 344.0 || 1,079.6 || 9.1 || 1,576.2 |
| Total || 173.1 || 411.5 || 1,294.7 || 9.1 || 1,888.4|
This year the auction period runs from November 1 through until the end of January. 20 tons of frozen meat from the coastal component of the JARPN programme will also be sold in the market. 50 tons of fresh product (which wouldn't show up in these stockpile statistics) was also apparently been sold off in traditional whaling towns around Japan.
On the 31st the Nikkei business newspaper reported in their products section
that prices for meat would rise on average 6%. Reasons given for this were the obstruction from "nature protection groups" and high fuel costs, and a much lower level of supply.
As for the JARPN by-product itself, the volume was basically the same as last year, but Sei whale red meat prices were raised to 1980 yen per kilo (up 3.1%). Unesu meat, used for bacon, is apparently in strong demand and the top grade product is priced at 3,600 yen this year, a 13% increase. On the other hand, stocks of red meat cuts and chest meat are higher in supply, and prices for these items were adjusted downwards.
If you recall in the previous update, the incoming stock volume was just under 1,600 tons, so there was 300 tons of JARPN product that didn't show up in the stockpile figures in August. We see below that it seems to have appeared in the September figures.September 2008 outgoing stock: 695 tons
A 51% increase in outgoing stock versus the same month in 2007.September 2008 incoming stock: 846 tons
Just a 1% increase in incoming stock versus the same month in 2007.September 2008 end-of-month stockpile: 4,209 tons
A 4% increase on the stockpile size of August, and also a 4% increase on the stockpile size at the same point in time last year.September 2008 top stockpile regions
The summary of movements in the top stockpile regions:
Stockpile size at month end
|Stockpile size at|
previous month end
|Tokyo city wards||1,997||2,168||-171|
Obvious enough where the extra JARPN meat went. Funabashi's stockpile had still gone nowhere, but a rumour I heard has it that this meat will finally complete the import procedures within the next month or so - so if the rumour is true then this stock should start moving by the time we see the December figures.Graph: Annual volumes
As of September, with three months in the year to go, the Incoming stock figure is still 1,000 ahead of the Outgoing figure, but generally Incoming stock levels over the last few months of the year only total around 1,000 tons, where as the Outgoing figures tend to be greater over the last 3 months, maybe looking for a total of 2,000.
This year might also see a little extra supply available however, depending on exactly when the Norwegian and Icelandic import meat starts moving.Graph: Monthly volumes
Expect the yellow Stockpile line to head sharply southwards in the next several updates, particularly from November when the JARPN II by-product whale meat will go on sale.
As an aside, recent Greenpeace propaganda cites the stockpile volume increase from less than 2,800 tons earlier in 2008 to 4,200 tonnes at the end of September as being indicative of a lack of demand for whale meat. Greenpeace's shame knows no bounds. These are the same types of people who would commit trespass and theft in pursuit of establishing a silly conspiracy theory for their propaganda purposes. Alas, this is the manner in which some people would make a living - they will bear the consequences of this whether they like it or not.Graph: Outgoing stock (cumulative)
As we approach the end of the year, the blue Outgoing stock line for 2008 appears to now be trending slightly higher than was the case in the latter part of 2007.
The high level of consumption in 2007 was in spite of lower stock in 2007 than 2006 due to the fire accident on board the Nisshin Maru that year, but there was subsequently a low level of stocks left earlier in 2008, as seen above in the Monthly volumes graph.
Outgoing stock was thus confined to a lower level in the early part of the year, but from around the time of the JARPA by-product auction, outgoing stock has geared up to a higher average level.
The previous two years have seen relatively high levels of Outgoing stock over the final months of the year, and I would predict that figures released for the final months of 2008 will also paint a similar story.Graph: Incoming stock (cumulative)
Incoming stock is interesting in that although JARPN II by-product volumes have been roughly the same for 2007 and 2008, there has been an increase in the incoming stock figure in 2008 for the relevant months.Graph: Regional whale meat stockpiles
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The October figures will be released on December 12.
Labels: stockpile figures