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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 - July 2009

Hi everyone, here's your July update on Japanese whale meat inventory statistics, data as usual pulled from the homepage of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries.

These stats came out last month actually, and indeed the August stats are due for release next Friday (October 9th) but I'm not likely to be able to publish those here until some time after that (will be enjoying a long weekend).

Not evident in these statistics, but the word is that Iceland's fin whaling company will be supplying around 1500 tons of fin whale meat products to the Japanese market sometime in the upcoming months. This will be a pretty historical event for the whale market here, as there haven't been any really significant levels of exports for around 2 decades. There is a fairly good chance that this will result in the total inventory level hitting a new peak in recent history. Good news for whale consumers.

July Statistics

Volume (tons)

Both the Outgoing and Incoming volumes were around 73-74% of the same month in the prior year, but the Month-end volume was 131%.

Top Regions

Stockpile size at
month end
Stockpile size at
previous month end
Tokyo city wards2,5122,865-353

Sasebo dropped out of the top 7 in July, with Kawasaki's extra stocks bringing it up into 7th place.

The graph below shows the total inventory (top line) and the regional breakdown below it for illustrative purposes.

Outgoing stock (cumulative)

Incoming stock (cumulative)

Monthly volumes

Annual volumes

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I hope you choke on it.
Japan's continued and expanded program of scientific whaling is inconsistent with its obligations under the Law of the Sea Convention, the International
Convention for the Regulation of Whaling Convention, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect and preserve the marine environment, to protect rare and fragile ecosystems and endangered species, to prepare environmental impact assessments when changes to the marine
environment are likely to be caused by its activities, and to refrain from claiming resources under the guise of marine scientific research. This
program is not legitimately "scientific" because it has not been peer-reviewed and does not have precise quantifiable goals. It is inconsistent with Japan's obligations under the Convention on Biological
Diversity because reduces the sustainability of whale species and has "adverse impacts on biological diversity." It is unquestionably an abuse of
right because it invokes Article VIII of the Whaling Convention in a manner that certainly was unanticipated by the framers of the Convention and has
been repeatedly condemned by the majority of the other contracting parties to the Convention.
Japan's actions can be challenged by concerned states in the International Court of Justice or through the dispute resolution procedures of the Law of
the Sea Convention and the conciliation procedures of the Convention on Biological
And even more.....
agree with the first comment, hope you choke on it!
Well if they can be challenged under all these treaties then why haven't they been?

Maybe because most of the world has more important things to worry about and doesn't see legal whaling as that big an issue.
I am minkwhaler from Iceland
and hef intersting to send you
hompage from my company


To Whaler and all,
There will be a translation at my blog this week about whaling in Iceland.

It seems like the whalers have started to freeze whale meat now...

Recently the demand has been good for whale meat so there has not been any need to freeze whale meat.

IMO there is not much about this among the NGOs.
Anonymouses #1 and #3, why such malice? There is no wrong in the sustainable consumption of the good tasty natural resources that certain whale stocks represent.
Anonymous #2,

This article has nothing to do with Japan's special permit whaling activities, but for your educational benefit the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling says the following in it's 8th article.

1. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention any Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit, and the killing, taking, and treating of whales in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be exempt from the operation of this Convention. ....

2. Any whales taken under these special permits shall so far as practicable be processed and the proceeds shall be dealt with in accordance with directions issued by the Government by which the permit was granted.

3. Each Contracting Government shall transmit to such body as may be designated by the Commission, in so far as practicable, and at intervals of not more than one year, scientific information available to that Government with respect to whales and whaling, including the results of research conducted pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article and to Article IV.

4. Recognizing that continuous collection and analysis of biological data in connection with the operations of factory ships and land stations are indispensable to sound and constructive management of the whale fisheries, the Contracting Governments will take all practicable measures to obtain such data.

Japan's programmes are fully compliant with those terms, which have been agreed to by nations such as Australia.

Japan is also acting in full compliance with the UNCLOS, which expressly recognises the desire of contracting governments to sustainably utilise marine resources in an optimal manner.

Japan's special permit programmes are most certainly and unquestionably scientific in nature. Even scientists in anti-whaling nations have requested and obtained access to Japan's data through the IWC Scientific Committee's data availability protocol for the purpose of tasks related to the IWC Scientific Committee's stock assessment work. You can read about this work in the annual reports from the committee.

Japan's special permit activities do not appear to have had an adverse impact on biological diversity, nor "reduce[d] the sustainability of whale species".

Repeated condemnation by the IWC over the years is meaningless in an international organization that was founded on the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

The precise reason that the anti-whaling nations use the IWC to make pointless political gestures such as those is because legally they know that Japan is right, as seen through the ICRW terms that were agreed to. This should be no surprise as the IWC is a whaling international organization - it is impossible to completely ban whaling through it given that it allows for special permit research and for objections to decisions made by a tyranneous majority, as was the case in 1982 when the anti-whaling nations successfully bought enough votes to enact the Schedule amendment for the temporary pause in whaling ('Moratorium').


Absolutely. There's a lot of good news these days about the increasing abundance of whales species, so I don't think even a minority of people in any nation anywhere are seriously concerned that modern day whaling for food (not barrels of oil etc) might lead to the extinction of any of them. The objections seem to come from a band of drones who would believe we humans are actually Martians if Paul Watson were to tell them so.

Thanks for your comment. Those look like some tasty recipes for whale there on your homepage, if only I could read them one day I would like to try a nice Iceland style meal.


Will try to watch out for it. It seems that whale beef etc has quite a following in Iceland. It will be interesting to see how the Iceland government handles the issue going forward as it seems the official line there does not align too well with public sentiment.
I see now that Icelandic whalers have consumer size packages of whale meat for sale now( frozen).

In sizes 4-6 kg / piece and costs 390Icenanic Kr/kg.

But the big issue is will the Japanese buy all the 1500tons of whale meat.

Methinks they are under pressure from the yanks not to do this???

I might be wrong as I haven't had time to follow the whaling issue closely lately...

You need as well a subscription now , quite expensive to get access to Norwegian whaling news.

However I will post some whaling at my blog this weekend.

FYI, at my blog latest Icelandic whaling now ....
While we're at it, let us all choke on whales, cows, chickens, pigs and any living beings who reside within the domain of the sanctity of life, so that we all perish and put an end to the slaughter of innocent plants and animals.

Surely that's ethically the right thing to do. Or is that too inconvenient?
Hi Ann,

Dropped you a note about what I think on the 1500 tons at your blog.
don't harpoon a whale harpoon a jap hope u guys choke on it
Myth Whale populations are numerous and increasing.

The whalers argue repeatedly that whale populations are numerous and increasing, and that their catches will not deplete those populations.

However, these arguments are based on some doubtful science. For example:

The website of Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) claims that populations of humpback and fin whales are growing by 14-16. The IWC’s Scientific Committee has agreed is biologically impossible.

The Japanese government continues to cite an outdated estimate of 760,000 minke whales in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 760,000 figure was an estimate based on surveys completed in 1987/88 which the IWC Scientific Committee once acknowledged was the best available at the time. Since then, more recent surveys have suggested a significantly lower abundance of minke whales. Indeed, the Scientific Committee agreed in 2000 that the 760,000 number was no longer appropriate. There has been no agreed population estimate since and the population may be declining.
[With all the 1000's that Japan has illegally killed you can bet your boots on this]
Proposed Japanese catches of humpback and fin whales in the Antarctic will occur in populations that are believed to be below the level at which catches would be allowed under scientific guidelines developed by the IWC.
Catches of humpbacks may threaten recovery of isolated humpback populations in the Pacific as well as interfering with existing non-lethal research programs.
Dave Head (whalerider),

Some whale population are numerous and increasing. Others are not.

It is a anti-whaling myth that there are no numerous whale populations and no increasing whale populations.

IWC catch limits on recovering populations would not deplete them.

Catches on un-exploited populations obviously would deplete them somewhat.

That is the nature of fisheries yields.

For a single population of humpbacks indeed it would be biologically implausible for annual growth of 14 - 16% each year. However there are alternative explanations for the observation, e.g. its possible that multiple populations gather in the same rich feeding grounds during the austral summer amplifying the effect of the individual increases in populations. Australian scientists do not disagree that there are stocks of humpback whales that are increasing, while IWC estimates put humpback numbers in the Southern Hemisphere above 50,000.

The 760,000 estimate was of course not regarded as a appropriate estimate as of 2000 and beyond. The estimate was for 1990, yet it demonstrated the needlessness of the moratorium.

A new population estimate is likely to be available soon, with the IWC Scientific Committee quoting recent estimates using improved abundance estimation methodologies:

the estimates for the most recent (CPIII) circumpolar series of estimates from the SOWER data range from around 461,000 for one method to 688,000 for another although both show an appreciable decline since CPII (the Scientific Committee is in the process of examining whether this reflects a real decline in abundance, changes in survey methods, changes in the number of animals available to be sighted due to presence within the ice or some combination of these).

There are no reports of illegal catches by Japan. Japan's special permit catches total, I forget the exact number, but certainly less than 20,000 over a 20+ year period. This level of catch is obviously not solely responsible for any possible decrease in real abundance.

The RMP has not even been implemented for the humpback and fin whales species, but in any case the RMP is for ongoing commercial catches, not special permit catches which are fundamentally different in nature. For example, commercial catches would be biased towards areas of high density whale abundance, whereas Japan's special permit catches are spread out with much more even distribution.

Additionally at the current time Japan has refrained from catches of humpbacks while talks about having the IWC return to it's function of regulating whaling continue.
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