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Toyo Suisan Releases Soft Fish Sausage

February 13, 2009

Toyo Suisan will release its new product, named "Maru-chan Soft Sausage" (50g x 3), on February 23. The sausage has a soft texture, which can be easily mixed with other food materials. 320g of calcium are found in each sausage.

Domestic and American surimi, as a main ingredient, is used. This new product can be conveniently utilized as a snack, appetizer, and food ingredient.

The original article was published on February 13, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Tsukiji Uoichiba's Q3 Performance Posts Operation Loss of \200 M.

February 13, 2009

Consolidated results for the third quarter (a period of April to December 2008) of Tsukiji Uoichiba as a group were released as follows: sales of \69.2 billion as a result of a sales growth contributed by increases in transaction amounts; operating loss of \199 million; ordinary deficit of 154 million; and the net loss of the third quarter tallied in at \544 million, reporting a significant loss.

The losses mainly stemmed from lower gross margin percentages and increases in labor and distribution costs over original projections. A gain on sales of investments in securities was posted as an extraordinary profit, amounting to \758 million; however, a loss on revaluation of investments in securities, totaling \1.206 billion, was reported as an extraordinary charge.

The division of seafood wholesale operation presented sales of \68.7 billion and operating loss of \250 million.

The company downgraded its fiscal year forecasts (as an individual entity and a group) for the reasons of "a plummet in gross operating profit, an increase in employee retirement benefit expenses as a result of worsened return on company retirement pension assets, a rise in logistics costs, and a plunge in the going rate of securities, among others."

The revised earnings forecast as an individual entity is as follows: sales \83.9 billion (the last projection of \86 billion); operating loss of \330 million (\30 million); ordinary deficit of \290 million (profit of \40 million); and net loss of \860 million (earnings of \10 million).

The earnings estimate after modifications as a group posted sales of \89.6 billion (\91 billion in the last forecast); operating loss of \310 million (\40 million); ordinary loss of \260 million (profit of \30 million); and net deficit of \750 million (proceeds of \10 million).

The original article was published on February 13, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Japan-China Fisheries Talks Agree on Fishing Quota Reductions Except Squid

February 13, 2009

The 10th Japan-China Fisheries Committee held fisheries talks at the office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery on February 10th, 2009. The parties reached agreements on fishing conditions for each country's waters covering the 2009 fishing seasons.

Changes made to Chinese fishing operations within Japan's exclusive economic zone indicate that, in trawl fisheries, 58 ships were reduced, to total 392 ships and that a fishing quota was decreased to 7,600 tons, 400 tons less than last year. There were no alterations made in squid fishing from the previous year's rights for 55 fishing boats, 3 carrying vessels, and a fishing quota of 4,141 tons.

Modifications made to Japanese fishing operations in China's exclusive economic zone are as follows: in purse seine fishing, 18 ships were reduced, totaling 143 ships and a fishing quota was downgraded to 10,177 tons, or 347 tons down from a year ago; in trawl fisheries, the number of boats ended in 33, a reduction of four boats, and a fishing quota was 739 tons, or a decline of 25 tons; in longline, dragline, and angling fishing secured 274 boats, or 36 fewer than last year and a fishing quota was reduced to 825 tons, or 28 tons less. In regards to natural resources management in provisional waters, it was agreed that, in the year of 2009, the number of Chinese fishing boats would not be allowed to exceed 18,580 boats; 220 boats were reduced from 2008. Japan managed to secure a similar level to last year's quota of 800 boats.

Chinese fisheries set the target catch amount as 1,788,344 tons, a cutback of 7,002 tons from the last year; Japanese fisheries remained the same as the previous year, 109,250 tons. China considered an extension of a summer-time fishing rest by Chinese fishing boats; both countries agreed to strengthen the natural resources management in provisional waters by deepening exchanges of information on fishing operations.

They also consented to immediately hold a meeting of related parties to discuss appropriate resources management in the East China Sea.

The original article was published on February 13, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

USSC Recommends Long-Term Contract at Same Price as 08' A-Season

February 9, 2009

Doug Christensen, President of the United States Surimi Commission (USSC), recommended long-term contracts rather than spot purchases, at the opening of the 2009 A-Season pollack harvest. The President made the following comments:

"The 2009 pollack season began on January 20. According to reports from the USSC members, for the first two weeks we have been experiencing extraordinarily low catch. Due to this fish scarcity, some onshore plants decided to suspend production or halt some production lines. At present, we are willing to do business with clients with long-term contracts or those who already signed the contract with us for this term."

"We assume that surimi production will increase in the last half of the A-Season, after the surimi prices are set. The USSC advises that Japanese kneaded products manufacturers promptly determine the price under the condition of the higher yen and maintain stable supply of offshore surimi, without causing any interruptions to surimi production."

"This season provides an opportunity, unseen in the past few years, for the Japanese market to negotiate a stabilized price for the coming seasons. Global demand for white fish products has continuously expanded. Spot purchases of American offshore frozen surimi will cause not only unstable prices, but also greater shortages of supply in order to support sales of other unfaltering pollack products."

"The USSC recommends that the Japanese market secure the majority of offshore frozen surimi needed annually through a long-term contract as soon as possible. We are sure that American offshore pollack surimi can be sold at the same price level as the 2008 A-Season."

The original article was published on February 9, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nippon Suisan Posts Significant Net Profit Loss of \6.6 B. for Third Quarter

February 6, 2009

Seafood Business Marks \1.7 Billion Profit Gain; Food Business Loses \1.3 Billion

Nippon Suisan announced the third quarter results (April thru December 2008); the company managed to keep its consolidated sales decline minimal, reporting \400.088 billion, a two percent fall; however, it still posted a 34.9 percent decline in operating profit, totaling \6.125 billion; a 74.6 percent drop in ordinary proceeds, or \2.449 billion; and in the end, a net loss of \6.584 was recorded.

The following factors contributed to the company's current losses: inefficiencies in companies that supply professional-quality prepared cold seafood in Northern America; amortization on goodwill of overseas subsidiaries; exchange rate losses; losses from revaluation of securities; and declining reserves for uncollectable accounts.

In the seafood business, Kyowa Suisan became a consolidated subsidiary; Hohsui and its seafood distribution division became equity method affiliates; and a fishing company in Latin America joined as a consolidated subsidiary. The seafood business posted a sales loss of \13.643 billion with sales totaling \166.609 billion; however, operating proceeds amounted to \4.244 billion with a significant profit increase of \1.784 billion.

As for the foods business, despite the high popularity of eco-clip fish sausage, commercial prepared cold foods reported vast revenue losses. Subsidiaries in China experienced slumps due to sales stagnation in Japan. Contrarily, a seafood processing company in Europe became a subsidiary and contributed to sales of \197.412 billion, an increase of \7.114 billion; and operating loss was \1.29 billion, a decrease of \3.48 billion in comparison with the previous quarter, as a result of amortization of goodwill of overseas subsidiaries, which totaled \1.435 billion.

"Amounts of goodwill" are as follows: Gorton's Inc. (\914 million); King & Prince Seafood Corp (\462 million); and Cite Marine S.A.S. (\57 million).

Divisions of distribution and fine chemicals posted declines in both sales and profit.

Revisions on the business year forecasts were made: sales were reduced to \500 billion, or a 6.4 percent fall over the previous quarter; operating profit \6 billion, or a 17 percent decline; ordinary proceeds \0, or a 100 percent drop; and the final net profit and loss resulted in a \11 billion profit loss from a \2 billion gain.

The original article was published on February 6, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

National Federation of Kneaded Fisheries Products Cooperatives Introduce Product of Untapped Fish at Seafood Show Osaka

February 6, 2009

As a business project for the first part of the year, the National Federation of Kneaded Fisheries Products Cooperatives introduced, at the Seafood Show Osaka (February 4 to 5), a surimi product made from untapped fish species which are part of the Fisheries Agency's budget allocation.

In "Untapped Natural Resources Utilization Project," a kneaded fisheries products cooperative in Nagasaki Prefecture has been working on its own surimi production at its own processing plant, utilizing such untapped fish as mahi mahi, eagle ray, and southern mackerel. One member manufacturer exhibited products made from this unique surimi at the Seafood Show, attracting visitors' interests.

Responding to the new budget allotment, \102 million, for a project of seafood processing material securement emergency measures, the cooperatives will create a model operation to make the most of domestic unused fish species. The cooperatives say that they are willing to put aggressive efforts into this project.

The budget appropriated for this project provides financial support of \20 million per case for efforts to produce surimi from anchovy, saury, and other local fish; to install machinery and equipment for development of new products; and upgrade plant facilities. High engagement at local cooperatives can be expected.

The original article was published on February 6, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Sanriku Cultured Coho Salmon Expects 8% Production Increase in Next Season

February 6, 2009

The next harvest season of Sanriku cultured coho salmon starts in mid March. Production amount for this upcoming season, estimated based on the number of fries released, will be 13,800 tons, an eight percent growth from the last year's result, 12,800 tons.

As a food material with seasonal appeal, the harvest of the fish is highly anticipated. As a result of which the low water temperatures that started in the beginning of the season substantially affected the last year's performance, reaching far below the originally estimated production amount (15,000 tons).

The resulting shortage of supply, due to the fish's slow maturity rate, caused a price surge up to \600 per kg before the Golden Week in May when sales at mass retailers shifted into full swing. The market price remained high and the average unit price throughout the season was \457 (before tax), the second highest following \483 in 1999 in the past decade.

In the upcoming season, there are 79 management entities (78 last year) and 256 corves (243). The next season's growth rate is estimated to be 11.1 times with resultant production quantities of 13,825 tons.

The question will be if the production will go smoothly as anticipated without hindrances experienced last year; the low water temperatures at the beginning of the season and the sudden rising water temperatures after July. Behind a growing interest in domestic products and concerns over food safety and assurance among consumers, demand for Sanriku cultured coho salmon, as seasonal foodstuff that offers a sense of closeness to producers, is rising.

Cultured Coho Salmon Production and Sales Results
Average Per Management

*A growth rate in 2009 is an estimated number.

The original article was published on February 6, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

2008 Seafood Export Stats: Quantities Decline 15.2%, Direct Hit by Higher Yen In Last Half

February 5, 2009

According to statistics from the year 2008 seafood exports, summarized by the Japan Fish Traders Association, the total export amount was 84.8 percent and its value was 87.5 percent; both displaying decreases in comparison with the previous year.

Fish, which witnessed export declines, were the main merchandises: salmon and trout (77.2 percent of the 2007 result); cod (48.3 percent); and mackerel (85.2 percent).

As for salmon and trout, their catch significantly declined to 115,000 tons in 2008, as opposed to about 160,000 tons in 2007. China, the largest importer, was unable to keep up with the soaring fish prices, ending at 47.7 percent of the purchase amount made a year before.

Cod decreased to 44,540 tons in 2008 from 92,171 tons in 2007. For the largest fresh cod importer, South Korea, the quantity shrank from 20,507 tons to 16,900 tons last year, marking 82.4 percent on a year-to-year comparison. Theses percentage points were earned by efforts of marketing the fish as a high-grade fresh fish product to an affluent customers. To China, the biggest recipient of frozen cod, 15,227 tons of frozen cod was shipped in 2008, down from 42,329 tons a year before, resulting in a dramatic plunge and marking 36 percent over the preceding year.

The adverse influence of the weaker Korean won and the stronger yen caused frozen mackerel export to S. Korea to decline to 10 percent of the prior year. Failed price negotiations, resulting from a decreased catch, slashed the shipment of the fish to China by half. However, the export amounts to Africa and Philippines rose. Mackerel reported 85.2 percent, compared with the 2007 result, from 156,266 tons in 2007 to 133,098 tons in 2008.

Concerning frozen amberjack, the US as the largest export counterpart received 120 to 130 tons of the fish until August; however starting in September, the shipment amount reduced to 100 to110 tons, failing to make the most sales during the peak time of production. Producers in Japan said that the export amount shrank nationwide after October.

In spite of the direct hit of the appreciating yen, the following items managed to increase the export amounts: bonito (104.3 percent); saury (173.3 percent); scallop (130.7 percent); and squid (218.1 percent).

Saury, as the yen appreciated in the last part of the year, did not fail to slow down; in the month of November, the export quantity recorded 11,821 tons and the 2008 total amount reached 57,093 tons. That 2008 TAC increased from 396,000 tons to 455,000 tons contributed to this growth. The unit price per kg was \80.7 yen, 89.9 percent of the previous year. The major markets were Thailand (20,802 tons); China (8,580 tons); and S. Korea (7,143 tons). Saury possesses high demand as a material for canned goods and processing. Moreover, in Vietnam, domestic consumption of the fish grew on the ground that saury was cheaper and fattier than catfish. The fish was also well accepted in Africa and Latin America.

The stronger yen slowed scallop down after October; however it performed better than 2007 in the first half of the year, ending in a growth of 30.7 percent.

The original article was published on February 5, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Seafood Show Osaka: Brisk Negotiations Take Place

February 5, 2009

The 6th Japan International Seafood Show Osaka, hosted by the Japan Fisheries Associations, commenced at the Osaka ATC Hall on February 4. Both Sushi Expo 2009 Osaka and the 2nd Agrifood Expo Osaka simultaneously opened. The Seafood Show functions as a comprehensive store of seafood, agricultural, and livestock products. Additionally, a wide variety of seminars by the Japan Fisheries Associations, the Fisheries Research Agency, National Fisheries University, and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology are also provided.

The following categories are displayed: 1) marine products; 2) marine processed goods, marine processed frozen products, and seafood materials; 3) seasonings and food additives; 4) seafood processing machineries and related equipment; 5) freezing and refrigerating devices; 6) packaging and physical distribution instrument services; 7) kitchen and cooking equipment; 8) fish display; 9) sushi business management; 10) HACCP supporting machineries, services, food sanitation management machineries, related equipment and technology; 11) fishery biomass and recycling, and others.

Visitors come from a wide array of businesses, with mass retailers, convenience store companies, department stores, fish retailers, seafood processers, deli/home-meal businesses, foodservicers, Japanese style hotels and hotels, and mail order businesses, all in attendance, creating brisk and active business negotiations.

The Sushi Expo exhibits fish for sushi and rice, innovative related materials, machineries, and services. Many stakeholders of sushi boat and take-out sushi businesses from the foodservice industry visit the exhibition with a great interest.

This is the 6th Seafood Show Osaka, which has become well known for the largest food show in the western part of Japan. It is estimated that the number of visitors will reach 10,000 and 15,000 combined with the Agrifood Expo. The exhibitions will continue until the 5th of February.

The original article was published on February 5, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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