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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



Only half of Americans against whaling?

Poll result:
Animal Planet today released the results of a national Online Zogby Interactive poll of 3,412 Americans ...

... Slightly more than half (53%) said it is not ethically or morally right to kill whales, with 20% disagreeing and 27% unsure.
Interesting. I would have thought that the numbers would be more heavily against whaling (by default), however generally speaking I believe that most people in most countries really don't care much about whaling.


First Iceland fin whale catches in 2009

Interesting story from IcelandReview:

Representatives of Japanese companies who plan to import the Icelandic fin whale meat were present during the processing; carrying their own knives to taste the meat and to grade the different cuts.

“They were always with us in the old days and will probably stay for the summer,” Loftsson said.

Commercial anti-whaling industry groups have been constantly trying to tell the west, and sympathetic Iceland officials, that there is "no demand" for Icelandic whale products in Japan (e.g. this).

This revelation that Japanese representatives are on the ground in Iceland tells a different story, one that is consistent with what I think is the case.

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Whale meat inventory update - April 2009

Here's the April inventory statistics update from the usual source.

Not much time again at the moment, will maybe add more commentary later.

April 2009 outgoing stock: 369 tons

April 2009 incoming stock: 767 tons

April 2009 end-of-month inventories: 4,800 tons

April 2009 top inventory regions

Stockpile size at
month end
Stockpile size at
previous month end
Tokyo city wards3,0232,912+111

Graph: Inventory ratio

Graph: Annual volumes

Graph: Monthly volumes

Graph: Outgoing stock (cumulative)

Graph: Incoming stock (cumulative)

Graph: Regional whale meat inventories




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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