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Nichirei President Murai Asks to "Boost Clients' Satisfaction"

April 6, 2009

Nichirei President Toshiaki Murai asked new recruits to "boost clients' satisfaction level" at the group initiation ceremony on April 1. He also expressed thoughtfulness and sensitivity to others as "post-process means clients."

The number of new employees for this year is 87 with all group companies combined. President Murai pointed out that "It is the most essential matter to deepen a degree of clients' satisfaction by providing products and services," and continued on to say:

"The president and management team of each group company are making efforts to 'create the work environment where workers can freely and actively have discussions' and also to strengthen relationships between supervisors and subordinates based on trust.' There are three things I expect of you as a group employee: 1) possessing curiosity and a spirit of inquiry; 2) giving your best to any type of assignment; and 3) becoming a central player, not bystander. It is important to pay attention to a process before and after your task. Especially, a post process is our customer. I expect you to place yourself in someone else's position all the time.

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

Kyokuyo Commences New Midterm Business Plan

April 2, 2009

Kyokuyo has begun a new midterm business plan "Kyokuyo Group: Challenge 2012" for over the next three years from this new fiscal year.

Centering around the pillar operations of seafood trading, processed foods, bonito/tuna, and logistics, the company aims to strengthen its distinctiveness and competitiveness. The company will mostly focus on promotion of domestic consumption in the short term; and in the medium- and long-term, strategies of overseas business and M&A will be implemented.

As an objective of the medium-term consolidated business, the return of equity (ROE) of 10 percent and a capital adequacy ratio of 30 percent were set.

Target numbers are as follows: sales of \177 billion (projection of \147 billion for the fiscal term ending March 2010); operation profit of \4.25 billion (\3.4 billion); and ordinary gain of \4 billion (\3 billion).

In the division of seafood trading, sales will not be limited only to the domestic market; advancement to North America, Europe, as well as Southeast Asia will be carried out, as well. In addition to sales of raw materials, seafood products with added value will be another area to be strengthened. Especially, setting Qingdao Kyokuyo International Co. Ltd. as the central station, reinforcement and expansion of sales in China will be aimed.

Concerning the processed foods segment, building a stronger production structure of domestic subsidiaries, corresponding to a growing consumer preference of domestic products. In overseas business, K&U Enterprise Co. Ltd., a subsidiary in Thailand, will reinforce its plant facilities. Furthermore, a product lineup for sushi and sashimi will be improved. Support for sushi boat chain restaurants to make inroads to the overseas market will be another goal. JOKKI Co. Ltd., which recently joined the group as a subsidiary and specializes in delicacies, will collaborate with Kyokuyo to develop new products and a Kyokuyo brand.

In bonito/tuna operation, expanding bluefin tuna aquaculture business and strengthening overseas purse seine fishery operations is a part of the plan. A new overseas purse seiner, "the 7th Wakabamaru," of Kyokuyo Suisan will be completed in September with the aim of fishing capacity upgrade and energy efficiency. Bluefin tuna farm operation will be increased with a possibility of operations at the other areas, outside of Sukumo, Kochi Prefecture.

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

February Seafood Exports Indicate 50% Increase in Cod

April 2, 2009

According to seafood export statistics of February (preliminary) summarized by the Japan Fish Traders Association, cod, saury, cooked mackerel, and scallop displayed increases; and contrarily, salmon, trout, and bonito dropped.

Cod managed to increase its export volume to 5,905 tons; however, its unit price fell to \130 per kg. Saury registered 6,736 tons with the unit price of \51. Similarly, the export amount of cooked mackerel greatly grew to 368 tons, however its unit price fell to \399. Scallop indicated an amount of 90 tons with the unit price of \4,240.

The main commodity of salmon and trout declined by half to 2,757 tons; and the unit price showed a slight increase to \229. A plunge in the market prices of bonito in Bangkok created a drastic plummet to 175 tons, marking the unit price of \91.

Cod684,931 349,708 510.6
<Year-to-year comp.>205.3%151.6%73.9%
Fresh, Chilled, Frozen
Salmon/trout2,757,857 633,218 229.6
<Year-to-year comp.>50.2%58.6%116.7%
Albacore249,819 56,187 224.9
<Year-to-year comp.>44.1%43.2%98.0%
Yellowfin tuna757,306 113,799 150.3
<Year-to-year comp.>101.0%70.3%69.7%
Big-eyed tuna437,502 197,343 451.1
<Year-to-year comp.>75.6%87.8%116.1%
Marlin20,315 4,449 219.0
<Year-to-year comp.>130.5%74.5%57.0%
Bonito175,882 16,141 91.8
<Year-to-year comp.>4.9%3.3%66.1%
Cod5,905,996 771,857 130.7
<Year-to-year comp.>146.0%100.5%68.8%
Mackerel6,021,702 555,446 92.2
<Year-to-year comp.>63.4%53.5%84.4%
Saury6,736,330 346,869 51.5
<Year-to-year comp.>114.1%70.3%61.6%
Sea bream25,940 3,378 130.2
<Year-to-year comp.>172.4%63.9%37.1%
Amberjack341,009 524,144 1537.0
<Year-to-year comp.>166.4%166.9%100.3%
Crab50,089 66,908 1335.8
<Year-to-year comp.>36.6%51.8%141.7%
Scallop419,109 531,613 1268.4
<Year-to-year comp.>59.8%66.8%111.8%
Squid1,107,108 231,247 208.9
<Year-to-year comp.>28.1%39.6%140.8%
Sea squirt302,415 69,945 231.3
<Year-to-year comp.>65.5%65.4%99.9%
Mackerel368,727 147,285 399.4
<Year-to-year comp.>392.8%341.8%87.0%
Kneaded fish products573,458 449,556 783.9
<Year-to-year comp.>82.8%86.5%104.4%
Scallop90,721 384,686 4240.3
<Year-to-year comp.>366.1%325.8%89.0%
Abalone3,993 239,980 60100.2
<Year-to-year comp.>120.5%108.5%90.0%
Seaweed57,608 101,839 1767.8
<Year-to-year comp.>59.7%57.8%96.9%
Fishmeal0 0 0
<Year-to-year comp.>0%0%0%
Pearl3,688 2,826,288 766347.1
<Year-to-year comp.>46.9%86.2%183.9%
Total32,976,810 12,264,438 371.9
<Year-to-year comp.>74.5%75.9%101.9%

(Released by the Japan Fish Traders Association on March 30, 2009)

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

Maruha-Nichiro HD: Withdrawal from Madagascar Causes Special Loss

April 1, 2009

As a result of worsened business operations of consolidated subsidiaries, Madagascar Suisan and Madagascar Yoshoku (aquaculture), Maruha-Nichiro HD promptly exited the country. Maruha-Nichiro resultantly will post a loss provision of about \1.5 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

Maruha-Nichiro had been engaged in epi-trawl fisheries and shrimp farm business in Madagascar for over forty years. In the recent years, in response to issues of marine resources exhaustion and expanded operation costs, the company earnestly downsized its operations. Nevertheless, on top of the worldwide financial slump, a plunge in the value of the local currency owing to political instability created impossibility of continued operations just by downsizing the businesses; and therefore, an early withdrawal of the operations was carried out, reporting a special loss of \1.5 billion.

In the year of 2009, the company will proceed with the early withdrawal, continuing a minimal scale of operations and communications with the local government, partners, and potential successors of the operations.

The original article was published on April 1, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

February Seafood Imports Fall 16%; Mackerel Drops 75%

April 1, 2009

According to trade statistics issues by the Ministry of Finance, a total seafood import amount of February came to 158,843 tons, or a 16.4 percent decline compared to the corresponding month a year ago. The aggregate value decreased 25.7 percent to \83.1 billion.

The following fish exhibited increases in volume: bonito (401 percent); albacore (257 percent); Southern bluefin tuna (202 percent); crab (57 percent); and horse mackerel (40 percent).

In contrast, drastic declines were seen in the following fish kinds among others: herring (44.7 percent); Matsubara stingfish (45.7 percent); squid (49.2 percent); fish meat (58.5 percent); mackerel (75.7 percent); Pollack surimi (57.1 percent); herring roe (62 percent); Pollack roe (71.9 percent); and cooked eel (69.7 percent).

ItemQuantity (tons)Year-to-year comparisonValue
 (million yen)
Year-to-year comparison
Live eel840 54.8%1,18848.7%
Fresh, Chilled, and Frozen
Bluefin tuna4,43485.8%6,10836.3%
Big-eyed tuna6,43778%4,15374.8%
Yellowfin tuna4,52476.8%1,81470.5%
Southern bluefin386302.3%636387.5%
Other tunas88682%1,05380.1%
Pollack roe717107.5%805114.5%
Fish meat1,82141.5%55037.3%
Horse mackerel4,722140.1%680148.1%
Pollack surimi1,08242.8%41146.7%
Salted, dried, and smoked
Herring roe2738%1845.2%
Pollack roe3628.1%5730%
Salmon roe18281.5%44883.1%

The original article was published on April 1, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Fukuichi Gyogyou Completes Construction of The 83rd Fukuichimaru

March 30, 2009

Taijin Gyogyou of Fukiichi Gyogyou Group constructed a far seas purse seiner "Dai Hachijyusan Fukuichimaru (The 83rd Fukuichimaru)" (760 tons) at Miho Zosen, and held a presentation/completion ceremony at the City of Yaizu. Approximately 300 guests showed up.

President Kazunari Kondo said, "For an owner of a ship, the completion of a new ship means joy as well as pride. In order to strengthen international competitiveness of Japan's far seas purse seine fisheries, we were given a trial permit to increase a size of a vessel from 349 tons to 760 tons. Now, we can overcome challenges with other countries. Finally, a bigger size of a ship came true, which makes me feel sober."

He continued, "There were twists and turns before the completion. While enlargement of ship sizes was seen in Taiwan, South Korea, and Spain, it took a long while in Japan owing to domestic adjustments. The decision on a larger size ship was made by the Fisheries Agency in preparation for the future. We are concerned about repayment of the loan for the vessel construction; however, for protection of Japan' fisheries, our company will work hard together."

Takahide Naruko, Director of the Resources Enhancement Promotion Department of the Fisheries Agency, made a comment as a guest, "I remember I was in a shock to see the size and equipment of overseas purse seiners back in 1970's; today, looking at this new vessel wiped out our common knowledge and I am admiring it all over again. Under the tough circumstances surrounding overseas purse seine fisheries, the trial permit was issued to guard national interests. Additionally, the trial permit aims to eradicate bycatch of small fish. I hope that the 83rd Fukuichimaru will show the results to other countries."

Kazuo Shima, Chairman of the Japan Far Seas Purse Seine Fishing Association, House of Representatives member Yoshitsugu Harada, and Koji Narita, Director of Japan Finance Corporation, also shared congratulatory comments. The ceremony continued on in a sociable ambience with a toast from Hiroshi Shimizu, a Mayor of Yaizu City.

The original article was published on March 30, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Fukuichi Gyogyou Completes Construction of The 83rd Fukuichimaru

March 30, 2009

In order to enhance the competitive edge of far seas purse seine fisheries internationally and build a fishery structure, which can stand competitions head to head with other countries' overseas purse seiners, a trial permit to construct a larger type of a vessel, a size increase from 349 tons to 760 tons, was given to Fukuichi Gyogyou, Kyokuyo Suisan, and Taiyo A&F Co.. Each company is allowed to erect one large vessel. All the vessels have been built at Miho Zosen; following Fukuichi Gyogyou, Kyokuyo Suisan will complete its vessel in September, and Taiyo A&F is scheduled to finish the construction next January.

In Japan the Department of Development of the Fisheries Research Agency possesses one 760-ton type ship, named Nihonmaru, for fishing ground development research in the Indian Ocean. Last year, this ship was replaced with a new one equipped with such new devices as counter-rotating propellers (in trial development).

In contrast, the 83rd Fukuichimaru was designed as a commercial vessel and is therefore loaded with practical devices and equipment, including a helicopter station. In response to tightening FAD regulations, the ship is equipped with a device for fish group detection.

The ship is also installed with the same engine type as the 349-ton model. Even with one and half tons of fish loaded, this high-velocity ship travels faster than a conventional type with less pressure. Furthermore, an application of propeller boss cap fins (PBCF) enhances propeller efficiency, making this fishing boat highly economical and energy efficient.

Fishing gears and refrigeration facilities have been reinforced; however, they will basically remain unchanged from the 349-ton model.

Characters and features of the new vessel are as follows:

  1. A two-deck vessel with a bulb bow and flapped rubber.
  2. Enlargement of deck space and installment of necessary equipment for the future helicopter use for detection of fish groups.
  3. Installation of eight freezing machines to enhance a freezing capability with brine freezing capacity of 390 tons per day (60 tons per bottle x 6 bottles) and PS freezing capacity of 75 tons every 10 hours (60 tons per bottle x 4).
  4. A power winch capacity of 14 tons x 52 meters a minute and installation of a bow thruster.
  5. Installation of large fixed diameter propellers fitted with PBCF for energy and propulsion efficiencies.
  6. One large and two medium Japanese wooden boats.
  7. The main engine size of 4,000 horsepower with an energy efficient capacity; an official trial operation record of 17.2 knots.
  8. Each cabin size of more than 1.5 square meters per person in accord with the new facility standard; in addition, special cabins for pilots and mechanics, and an observer room for the international resources management councils.
  9. The maximum crew number of 27.

The original article was published on March 30, 2009 and unpublished and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Federation of Japan Skipjack and Tuna Fisheries Cooperatives Goes Under with Debt of \5.3 B.

March 27, 2009

The Federation of Japan Skipjack and Tuna Fisheries Cooperatives, which filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo District Court, received an approval of bankruptcy proceedings on March 25. From this point on, the Federation will finalize its bankruptcy with the help of the law. The aggregate amount of indebtedness reached about \5.3 billion.

The Federation came to a decision on dissolution at an emergency assembly held on March 24, 2006. Since a receipt of an approval from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery in May 2006, the Federation has conducted liquidation proceedings, such as asset disposal and debt collection over the course of three years. Though dispositions of fixed assets and subsidiaries were successfully completed, a large amount of uncollectable debts from sales operations resulted in a great deal of shortage in the settlement of obligation.

From April 2006, the Federation was reorganized into "The Japan Skipjack and Tuna Fisheries Cooperatives," which was established for the purpose of dealing with leadership and overseas operations as a unified association of fisheries cooperatives; and "The Japan Skipjack and Tuna Fisheries Cooperatives Corporation," which is a 100 percent subsidiary of The Japan Skipjack and Tuna Fisheries Cooperatives and runs business operations. Both organizations are performing well.

The original article was published on March 27, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Bidding on American Pollack Roe:
Appraisal of Medium Size Roe Attracts Attention
Mainly Large Size, Prices' Downward Trend

March 27, 2009

Bidding on American DAP pollack roe is reaching its high time. Bidding at onshore plants now has started, following the completion of the bidding on processing boats and mother ships. Generally, fish sizes tend to be large and prices are falling below last year's rates. Some stakeholders were interviewed:

"In the first part of a season from January through February, the fish is mostly large. Large and/or overripe roe weights more and the average price came lower than last year. However, an appraisal of each roe is about the same as the previous year. From the mid March on, gravid fish is coming over to the area. Probably because of the cold water temperature, a degree of maturity is favorably progressing more slowly than the recent years. Products after mid-March will be mainly medium size and an evaluation of high quality roe will be worthy of attention." (American producer)

(At the product display on the mother boat) "We had about the same number of visitors as the recent years. The fish sizes from three mother boats were all relatively mid to large sizes, which received positive feedback from the visitors. I was under impression that especially the medium size fish, roe with damaged sacs, as well as ones with fish bile drew attention." (American producer)

"I had a feeling that the atmosphere didn't get exciting as much. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great and it was also cold everyday; we were still coping with the global financial downturn; what was worse, Alaskan pollack's original weight was heavy, coming to 1.2 to 1.6 kg this year. Therefore, its roe size was 3L, heavier than expected. All these factors played a part in this uninspiring atmosphere. Its price was exhibiting a downward trend, just about \500 per kg. As a result of the deprecation of the South Korean won, I saw fewer S. Korean buyers than usual, but almost all Japanese purchasers came. Though fish eggs tend to be large, their quality is excellent. Since March 20, the prices have been gradually going up. The key point will be how Japanese manufacturers process this large size roe and attach their own added value. It seems that buyers from each company are dealing more carefully than the recent years as a consequence of a credit crunch." (Trader)

"The fish roe size is large and for makers that deal with packaged products for mass retailers, this size of roe is difficult to handle. Manufactures with an extensive sales channel, which deals with roe with damaged sacs and loose eggs for professional grade products, will be able to make the best of the large size fish eggs. For products for mass retailers may mainly come from Russian pollack." (Mentaiko -marinated pollack roe- manufacturer)

The original article was published on March 27, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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