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Fisheries Agency Executes Reduction of Tuna Longliners

February 2, 2009

Responding to tightened regulations by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the Fisheries Agency announced that it would carry out international fisheries reorganization project, meaning a reduction of fishing boats.

The Fisheries Agency will provide pelagic and adjacent tuna longlining fishermen financial aids, "unwanted fishing vessel disposal expense," as a relief fund and for the losses incurred by disposal of boats.

The scale of vessel reduction (the number of boats) will be determined by a plan created by a concerned organization based on the Fisheries Agency's agenda; it is estimated that pelagic tuna longliners will lose 50 to 80 out of 390 boats, 10 to 20 percent of all fishing boats, and adjacent bonito/tuna fishing boats will end up scrapping 40 to 50 boats, 10 to 15 percent of 349 boats. The Fisheries Agency will start accepting applications for a relief aid and disposal cost starting late March; compensation for the boat reduction of pelagic tuna longlining fisheries will entail about \100 million for a17 to 18 year-old boat of 379 tons and \50 to 60 million for an adjacent bonito/tuna fishing boat (119 tons).

Concerning the tightening of regulations of tuna fishing, the ICCAT agreed on a 30 percent reduction of catch amounts of bluefin in the Atlantic Ocean last November; and another agreement to lessen big-eye tuna catch by 30 percent was reached by the WCPFC last December.

The original article was published on February 2, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Kyokuyo's 3Q Reports Operating Profit Increase, Totaling \2.9 Billion

February 2, 2009

Kyokuyo announced its third quarter results of the fiscal term ending March 2009: sales amount of \115.4 billion (\116 billion at the same quarter last year); operating earnings of \2.945 billion (\2.512 billion); ordinary proceeds of \2.974 billion (\2.323 billion); and net profit of this fiscal term of \1.617 billion (\1.276 billion), ending in a revenue decrease and a profit increase.

Seafood operations, which greatly contributed to the overall company performance during the first part of the year, experienced a fall in income due to volatile currency exchange markets and the deterioration of the domestic market; however, development of new products and thorough practice of the company's policy to "purchase proper amounts at appropriate times" helped the seafood business increase profitability, in comparison with the corresponding quarter last year.

Despite consumption stagnation and consumers' concerns over processed foods products from China, the processed foods division also secured a profit increase, resulting from price revisions based on price hikes in raw materials and other materials. The distribution service exhibited an increase in revenue, but a profit decrease, caused by a plunge in fuel prices.

Bonito/tuna operations displayed a revenue increase; however catch stagnation by purse seining operations and a plummet in the bonito prices resulted in a profit decrease.

For this business term, the company estimated sales of \152 billion; operating profit of \4.2 billion; ordinary earnings of \4.1 billion; and net proceeds of \2.2 billion.

The original article was published on February 2, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Japan Saury Fisheries Association Comments on New Year

February 2, 2009

Kazuhiro Yagita, chairman of the Japan Saury Fisheries Association, shared the association's outlook on the New Year, touching on the last year's market moves, in Tokyo on January 29. He spoke as follows:

With an increase in saury TAC supervised by the Minister to 350,000 tons in the previous year, there were numerous unsolved issues needing to be dealt with in the volatile fishing conditions.

The total saury catch amounted to 316,000 tons, an 18 percent rise compared to a year before. In spite of a result of the catch exceeding 90 percent of a fishing quota of 350,000 tons, the unit price remained at 90 percent of the previous year, meaning \628 per kg. Whereas there were slight increases in both amount and value (a 6 percent increase and a total of \19.9 billion respectively), the expensive fuel costs caused boat owners net profit losses.

The issues we are facing are how we secure crewmembers for short, concentrated fishing periods, and replacement of aging boats. Maintaining the current dominance, we hope to establish a stable production system. We are determined to collectively face various challenges, so that we can keep supplying safe and abundant saury.

As part of a profitable fisheries project, the association set up our own project last November. With the help of the Fisheries Agency and Daisui, we will come up with solutions to various problems and achieve the fruitful results. Despite the original forecast that 50,000 to 60,000 tons of saury would be used for fishmeal, 20,000 to 30,000 tons were actually shipped for that purpose last year, a lot less than expected.

Additionally, the dearer yen worked against the saury exports. Being unable to supply the fish when demand was there, we ended up with the fish in stock (as of late November 2008, 80,000 tons remained in stock). This motivated us to sustain a harmonious balance of supply and demand for both producers and distributors. To this end, it becomes necessary to establish various production methods appropriate for different applications, such as for fresh fish and fishmeal, asking for understanding and cooperation from the distributor side. Last year, the fishing season ended on December 25. By extending the fishing period, we aimed for steady distributions; however, it required more costs and ended up putting pressure on profit. Yet, short-term fishing operations make it difficult to secure crewmembers.

As for promotion of exports, we will make possible efforts to expand sales network, facing against the tough business environment. We are looking into Malaysia and India for new market expansion. Building on each step becomes very essential.

The original articles was published on February 2, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

FamilyMart Sells "Red Sea Bream Ikejime"

February 2, 2009

FamilyMart will sell "Red Sea Bream Ikejime and Pink Shrimp" at 260 stores throughout eight different prefectures, where sales of "sashimi" are in progress. Red sea bream is in season form winter to spring. Sea bream from Mie Prefecture is directly transported alive by sea and the fish receives ikejime treatment on the day of processing. (Ikejime is to let the blood out of live fish to preserve freshness).

Pink shrimp is Greenlandic frozen shrimp. Each set consists of three sea bream fillets and seven pieces of pink shrimp, which comes with wasabi and soy sauce. This set is the second of the series preceded by popular "Kanpachi Ikejime and Pink Shrimp." It is priced at \458 (tax included). The release date is February 10.

The original article was published on February 2, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

2009 Budget for Fisheries Industry Structural Improvement Project Receives Approx. \119.86 B.

February 2, 2009

The 2009 budget for fisheries industry structural improvement receives approximately \119.86 billion, an 89.5 percent of the last year's amount. With a \10 billion allocation for nonpublic use once added, it becomes 97 percent over the previous year.

Maki Hashimoto, director of fishing ports and grounds improvement of the Fisheries Agency, said, "the intrinsic strength of the fishing industry will be questioned this year. Securing natural resources and streaming a distribution system through improvement of the fishing industry structure, we aim to steadily work towards construction of robust fisheries." The director further commented on a fishing ground restructure project directly controlled by the government, emphasizing its importance: "When local communicates are struggling, the government should take control of securement of natural resources; and therefore a generous amount of budget was allocated."

The amount of \1 billion is allotted for a frontier fishing ground restructure project in the budget of 2009. Installation of fishing reef off of Tajima, Hyogo Prefecture has been already completed and currently, another development is taking placing off of Akasaki and Hamada. Investigations of a possibility to build fishing grounds in the East China Sea and other locations will be conducted.

Additionally, new projects were prepared for the purposes of establishment of the ecological infrastructure of production foundation, reinforcement of production and distribution functionalities at producing communities, and construction of secure fishing villages which will support safe food production. A new project of aquatic environment conservation/construction is given \2.8 billion. The dredging of polluted mud on the seabed at the aquaculture sites will be executed in order to improve the condition of the sediments. With recovery and maintenance of aquaculture grounds, productivity improvement and sable management of aquaculture will be carried out.

Another new project of floating fish reef ground improvement receives \500 million. Floating fish reef can be installed in a short period of time, from which the swarming effect of marine products can be expected. Compared to the conventional surface fish reef, intermediate fish reef is more cost effective and user friendly.

A project of environment and ecosystem integrity support (new project) is provided \1.23 billion (of which \1.13 billion is for non-public use) in order for recovery and maintenance of 125,000 hectare of marine forests as well as 48,000 hectare of intertidal flats. \290 million is appropriated for a project of coral growth technology development (new) to tackle issues surrounding coral in distress. This project will be conducted at the Okinoshima Island where coral is facing such harsh conditions.

An approximate budget for a fishing ports and coasts project is \9.784 billion. The fund will be utilized for pressing issues of the coastal reconstruction against large-scale earthquakes, tsunami, and frequent high tides. Emergency measures against tsunami, high tides, and erosion at the below-sea-level areas secure \4.622 billion, or a 112 percent of the last year.

The original article was published on February 2, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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