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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 inventory update - December 2008

Lots of other stuff to write about, so here's the update for the December 2008 whale meat inventory statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (PDF, Excel).

Obviously this wraps up the 2008 year so we can make a few observations versus previous years.

December 2008 outgoing stock: 415 tons

After the relatively large outgoing stock volume in November, December 2008 turned out to be a relative "fizzer", although 415 tons was only down 3% on the same month in December 2007.

December 2008 incoming stock: 229 tons

Also relatively low incoming stock volumes, here down 28% on the same month in the previous year. December is always low though.

December 2008 end-of-month inventories: 3,096 tons

Overall, volumes dropped just under 200 tons, or 6% versus the previous month end, and as of the year end volumes were almost 300 tons less than as of December-end 2007. In fact we have to go back to December 2003 to find a year-end with inventories running lower than this. That year they were significantly lower however, at around 2,150 tons.

December 2008 top inventory regions

The summary of movements in the top stockpile regions:

Stockpile size at
month end
Stockpile size at
previous month end
Tokyo city wards1,4511,551-100

Not much happened, with Tokyo the only region showing 3-digit movement in tons.
Funabashi is still mysteriously static.

Graph: Annual volumes

A total of 7.274 tons recorded as leaving storage in 2008, versus incoming volumes of 7,237 tons. The second straight year of outgoing stock shipments outstripping incoming volumes, but with supply (from mainly non-commercial research programmes) on the decrease, the overall volumes were lower than the previous two years.

Graph: Monthly volumes

With inventory at lower levels at the same time in the previous year, the next question is how low stocks will go in early 2009, prior to the next significant incoming stock hitting the statistics around April.

Graph: Outgoing stock (cumulative)

Graph: Incoming stock (cumulative)

Graph: Regional whale meat inventories

* * *

The January 2009 figures are scheduled for release on the 10th of March.

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