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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



By-caught minke goes for 5 million

A local Japanese newspaper has a report of another by-caught minke whale.

My summary translation is below.
On the 2nd of June, a minke whale exceeding 7 metres in length, which had been caught in a fixed fishing net, was landed at the Kesennuma city fish market. People gathered around the whale that was laid across a pier to touch and take photographs with it.

The 7.35 metre bull whale weighing 4.7 tons had been transported there from the coast off Ofunato city in a large truck. A large fisheries company in the city succeeded in the bid to purchase the whale, paying 5,470,000 yen.

The company that bought the whale has plans to process it at their factory an then ship the fresh products down south to Sendai. Sales by Kesennuma city wholesalers and the "Uminoichi" market are also planned.

The last minke whale to be landed in Kesennuma fish market was on April 25. An operator of the fishing company that owns the boat which brought the whale to shore said "I hear that whales are increasing out at sea but I've no recollection of one being caught in June before".

According to the ICR in Tokyo, minkes can grow in excess of 10 metres, making this catch a medium sized one.

It seems there is a quite a large variation in prices of by-caught whales, just going by the news media reports. This one seems to have fetched a relatively hefty price. The condition of the whale probably plays a role, but I also wonder how often the buyers can away with a bargain purchase when the market is thin.

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David -

There is also the possibility of the Tsukiji effect, where bidders bid up the price beyond reason in order to earn the reputation of being big spenders, willing to push the limits in order to deliver only the very best product to their retail customers.

Then of course there is the publicity a high bidder wins by getting his purchase mentioned in the news.
Sounds strangely like the art market.
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