Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
A few months ago when I peeked in a near-by supermarket I found the shelves were almost bare of canned whale products. What was the situation I wondered?
Were the products so popular they were selling out quickly? (Well whale is tasty, but it's no "miracle" product - just a type of meat - albeit much better than that nasty cow meat from Australia)
Or were the products unpopular so they weren't being restocked? (But then empty shelves in Tokyo supermarkets are not good at all for profitability)
Neither idea really seemed to make good enough sense.
So I was in the same supermarket yesterday, and found that not only were the shelves now packed full
of whale products, there were also a couple of products I hadn't seen before, so I picked up a can each.
First up is "KUJIRA YAKINUKU":
The description on the can notes that this item is produced from whale by-products from Minke, Bryde's and Sei whales of the western north pacific and antarctic, sampled under Japan's special permit programs. The labelling on my can here in particular indicates that the whale inside came from an Antarctic minke whale.
Second up, is SANRIKU KUJIRA CURRY:
This can doesn't have such precise information about the origins of the whale, but the homepage of the company in Ishinomaki that produced it notes that they handle mainly research whaling by-products. Can't wait to try this one sometime, I love Japanese style curry and with whale it should be pretty good too (usually I use pork).
Anyway, now I have another idea about why the supermarket shelves for whale products were almost bare a couple of months ago, but packed yesterday. When in the supermarket looking at the shelves, one forgets that whale overall is limited in supply by how the volume of by-products eventuating from the research programs, and particularly with the Antarctic research being hampered again last winter, one expects that the whale meat supply this year is again down. But with it being August now, what by-products were available from last season's Antarctic research will now be available to the markets at least in part, and quite possibly the companies producing these canned products had put production on hold until such a time as they had more base products to work with, hence the lack of supply a few months ago versus now.
Labels: Ishinomaki, whale gourmet, whale meat market