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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 publicity on FNN

Well, I've been a busy busy of late - who isn't in December? But I did have time to snap off some screenshots of an FNN (Fuji News Network) online news article with accompanying video in early December, which came up when Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah spent a couple of days on a Sea Shepherd cruise down the east coast of Australia (A Sankei newspaper journalist subsequently noted on his blog his surprise at the speed at which Hannah departed the crusade).

Unlike Greenpeace, who have been expending great efforts trying to gain sympathy for the arrest of the "Tokyo Two" (more aptly, the "Two Tokyo Thieves") following their committing acts of trespass and theft in pursuit of their anti-whaling propaganda agenda, the Sea Shepherd organization has actually been getting some media coverage here in Japan.

Not that it's been particularly good for them.

The FNN video gave some air time to Hannah's airhead nonsense about whale "assassinations" and so forth. Paul Watson himself gets a few words in at one point when staff member Taro Kimura is shown in a phone conversation with him:

As seen in the subtitle of the video, Kimura is saying to Watson: "You injured Japanese crew members".

Watson's response, shown in the image below is "No we didn't".

Kimura continues: "No, you did".

And that was it for Watson. Perhaps he'd get more airtime if he stopped telling porkies.

Young announcer Koji Oana continues the report with some comment from the Japanese side. Oana was apparently born in Nagano (an inland part of Japan) in 1982, the year the commercial moratorium was agreed to, and being of a young age and coming from a non-coastal part of Japan is unlikely to have had much chance to eat whale meat during his time on earth.

His report covers the negative impact on whale consumers from Sea Shepherd's obstruction - prices have gone up 6% and the Kyodo Senpaku antenna shop, Yushin, is likely to close in 2010 as a result of the obstruction.

A part of the caption in video reads "whale terrorism: the aim...".

Oana heads of to the Hatsumomiji restaurant in Shinjuku to find out more about whale meat:

And so here is a whale dish, says young Oana.

Can we get a closer look at that, please?

It was a couple of weeks ago that I watched the video, but I think this is the "kanako" part of the whale. It's meat from the lower jaw of the whale, and this cut is one of those that fetches a high price.

No doubt Oana was putting this one on FNN's bill. But it's not just for looking at. Oana tries it out:
That's right, dip it in some soy sauce...

As the video cuts away to show more close up shots of the meat, Oana comments that the whale is "delicious".

With respect to both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd, it's hard to see how their actions are likely or even designed to bring about a change in the sustainable use policy of the government here. On the contrary their actions do often appear to be working against their purported aims.

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Whale meat stockpile update - October 2008

Briefly - October stockpile stats (Excel, PDF).
Will look to add some more meat to this later...
UPDATE: 2009/01/21 - had no time at the end of 2008 for that, check the November update instead.

October 2008 outgoing stock: 669 tons

October 2008 incoming stock: 364 tons

October 2008 end-of-month stockpile: 3,904 tons

October 2008 top stockpile regions

The summary of movements in the top stockpile regions:

Stockpile size at
month end
Stockpile size at
previous month end
Tokyo city wards1,869

Graph: Annual volumes

Graph: Monthly volumes

Graph: Outgoing stock (cumulative)

Graph: Incoming stock (cumulative)

Graph: Regional whale meat stockpiles

* * *

The November 2008 figures are scheduled for release on the 13th of January.




12,000 humpies migrating off Western Australia

Googling for "booming humpbacks" turns up several results on increasing humpback numbers, particularly pertaining to the so-called "E" stock of Southern Hemisphere humpbacks, which is thought to mainly migrate up from the Antarctic past the east coast of Australia in the austral winter and back again in summer for feeding.

An article from a couple of days back covers more concern in Australia about the deaths of young humpback whales, but this time from the west coast. They've even been euthanising some of them down again, but without the huge fuss that surrounded Coleen back in August.

Anyway the reason I post this is to record the population estimate given, again from an Australian scientist:

Mr Burton said WA’s humpback population had grown by up to 10 per cent a year for the past six years and were now thought to number about 12,000.

He said the estimate was based on aerial surveys carried out over Shark Bay and as part of a Federal Government-funded whale monitoring program.

“I think our population on the west coast is fairly robust and probably one of the biggest on the planet,” he said.

That from "Western Whale Research founder and marine biologist Chris Burton".

If this population continues to increase by 10% annually there will be some pretty big numbers there in another 5 to 10 years, but depending on who you listen to this population could still be at just a fraction of it's previous abundance prior to the onset of whaling.

Time will tell how the population dynamics play out in the 21st century, my bets are on time speaking up sooner rather than later.



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