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Ultra Cold Tuna Sashimi Becomes Popular in Taiwan

November 27, 2009

The tuna longlining industry in Taiwan (the Taiwan Tuna Longlining Fisheries Association) participated in a food exhibition in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, and promoted Taiwanese ultra cold tuna to approximately 60,000 of the general public.

With the support of Kaohsiung City, the Taiwanese tuna longlining industry set up “Ultra Cold Tuna Zone.” Pamphlets created by the Marine Bureau of Kaohsiung City and insulated cooler bags were given away to advertize the taste and high quality of ultra cold tuna.

Producers also launched six stalls where reasonably priced tuna blocks for sashimi were sold. As a result, the fish was so popular that sales volume came to about 3 tons with quadrupled sales of 600,000 yuan, in comparison with last year.

The reason for their participation in the exhibition this year lied in the reality of the slumping tuna sashimi market in Japan, which is one of the major clients. As one of the ways to increase consumption, the City of Kaohsiung and the industry collaboratively attempted to expand the tuna market in Taiwan.

One stakeholder of the industry said, “It came home to me today that the general public’s interest in tuna sashimi was rapidly growing; I was totally moved. In the past years, we have tried so hard to get people to understand the deliciousness of ultra cold tuna sashimi; and finally, we’re getting results. From this point on, I hope that this trend will spread from Kaohsiung to the rest of Taiwan.”

There are six locations that specialize in tuna sashimi and sushi run by tuna fishermen within the city of Kaohsiung; three more are expected to open this year.

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

Hokkaido Surimi Production Until Oct Records 70% of Last Year

November 27, 2009

The National Surimi Manufacturers Association summarized the surimi production amounts in Hokkaido for October 2009. A total yield was 3,614 tons; an aggregate amount from January to October added up to 24,483 tons, as opposed to 36,435 tons a year ago. In addition, atka mackerel catches from January to September totaled 57,452 tons (79,343 tons a year ago).

Furthermore, total import quantities of surimi and pollack as recorded until September are as follows: pollack varieties were 36,271 tons (55,718 tons for the corresponding period last year); golden threadfin bream surimi 30,047 tons (43,132 tons); IQ fish meat/horse mackerel 260 tons (118 tons); barracuda/sea bream meat 1,902 tons (3,882 tons); other fish meat 66,255 tons (101,936 tons); and frozen pollack 740 tons (935 tons). Additionally, inventory amounts of frozen surimi as of late September were pollack 44,725 tons, or 112 percent over last year and others 72,551 tons, or 64 percent, totaling 72,551 tons, or 87 percent.

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

This Season’s Saury Harvest Reaches 250,000t

November 26, 2009

Based on the numbers released by the National Saury Fisheries Association, the accumulative saury harvest amount came to 251,601 tons, a seven percent fall, compared to the same period last year. Its unit price declined 2 percent to \758 per 10kg.

Catch amounts for mid November (from Nov. 11 to 20) altogether added up to 19,105 tons, down 32 percentage points. The unit price, however, increased 23 percent to \511/kg. The main landing port, Choshi, Chiba Prefecture, indicated a 30 percent increase to 10,000 tons; however, Kesennuma and Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture recorded 2,245 tons and 2,636 tons respectively, half of the amounts a year ago.

Record of Saury Harvest Amounts Until November 20

 Major PortsCatch AmountYear-Over-Year comparisonUnit Price (\)Year-Over-Year comparison
 Total (Mainland Japan) 140,06692%646101%
Grand Total251,60193%75898%

The original article was published on November 26, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

October Supermarket Sales: Marine Foods Mark 5.5% Decline

November 26, 2009

According to comparable-store sales statistics of 8,221 stores of 70 member companies released by the Japan Chain Stores Association, October’s growth rate registered a 5.8 percent drop, recording year-on-year losses for 11 months in a row. Unfavorable weather, such as typhoons, and increasing consumer frugality subsisted in the result.

Seafood sales ended in a 5.5 percent decline. Such regular fish as sardine, mackerel, and saury, eel, and oyster performed well; however, tuna, crab, shrimp, and frozen fish exhibited unfavorable performances. Salted salmon, fish roe, as well as dried fish sales also struggled to grow.

Sales of agricultural products decreased 8.7 percentage points. In the vegetable category, potato, onion, and bean sprouts moved well; on the other hand, daikon horseradish, cabbage, nappa cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and green bell pepper slumped as a result of decreasing market prices. In the fruit category, banana decreased as a reactionary move to last year. There was slumping movement of tangerine and apple due to lower market rates.

Livestock products recorded a five percent drop. As a whole, consumers displayed a tendency to go for low unit price products and cheaper products; nonetheless, beef for BBQ performed nicely.
Deli sales fell 5.8 percent. Broiled product and rice were strong; Chinese food, fried food, snack, and perishable deli, however, slumped. Sushi sales were not good, either.

Other food products, including cold foods, showed a 3.4 percent decline in sales. Cold food, dessert, dairy product, noodle, beverage, quasi beer, kneaded product, and pastry exhibited nice performances. Uncooked noodle and pickle stagnated.

The original article was published on November 26, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Collaboration of NSEC and Sushi Restaurant

November 25, 2009

Sushi boat chain restaurant Choshi-Maru headquartered in Chiba City just began a collaborative event “Whole Bite of Norway Fair” with the Norwegian Seafood Export Council (NSEC). On Nov. 20, consumer representatives were invited to an opening event at Tateishi, Katsushika City, Tokyo, where Norwegian salmon was promoted. The fair will be held at all 66 restaurants until Dec. 17. Special recipes of Norwegian aurora salmon are offered and a prize, a trip to Norway, is another attraction.

At this special event, in addition to a nigiri set “Aurora Three Brothers” where three different flavors (wasabi, salted kelp, and soy sauce) of Norwegian aurora salmon can be savored and compared, a “Theater Compnay Set” which presents famous sushi toppings of Norwegian seafood and Choshi-Maru, and a Norway’s famous recipe “Bergen Soup” are offered. Applications for a luxurious trip to Norway where you can enjoy aurora observation will be accepted online until Jan 8.

At the opening event, Ambassador to Japan Arne Walther presented salmon to Choshi-Maru President Hayao Horichi. President Horichi said, “Our restaurant at Tateishi opened seven years ago. 220,000-230,00 people, half of Katsushika City residents, 460,000, come enjoy at this restaurant each year. What we pursue isn’t sales, or profit, but an everlasting point that the restraint is recognized as an indispensible place in community. Our sheer existence and desire is to provide delicious sushi filled with heart and see our customers enjoy it; as part of it, we will put our heart and soul into the success of the “Whole Bite of Norway Fair.”

NSEC Japan Office Representative Hans Petter Nas gave a speech: “Norway’s salmon, bred in the cold and clear ocean, is rich in DHA and EPA. It is superior foodstuff in all aspects of look, flavor, and nutrition. On top of that, recently, its property that contributes to beautiful skin was proved. I am delighted to offer high quality aurora salmon.” Ambassador Walther humorously commented: “Norwegian salmon is the king of fish. The happier the fish gets, the tastier it gets. When you want to savor salmon, go to Choshi-Maru!”

Daiichi Suisan President Hiroyuki Taguchi also expressed his praise: “I have been in this business for more than 40 years. When I first encountered aurora salmon two years back, its taste took my breath away. I even visited Norway. I am totally impressed with the fact that Choshi-Maru shed light on this fish.”

Figure 1: (left) salmon being presented to President Horichi. (right) Aurora salmon nigiri sushi

The original article was published on November 25, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Yanmar Co. Unprecedentedly Installs Electric Propulsion System on Purse Seiner

November 24, 2009

Yanmar Co. is working toward the wider use of electric propulsion systems useful for energy efficient operations. A purse seiner under construction by Taishimaru in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, will be equipped with an electric propulsion system; this is the second case in a fishing boat, but the first one ever in a purse seiner. The purse seiner is part of a project to renovate fishing boats and fishery structure.

Yanmar has already installed an electric propulsion system on nine domestic vessels. These were super eco-ships constructed in response to a rail support organization and a 20 to 30 percent CO2 emission reduction was made possible.

Vessels equipped with an electric propulsion system need auxiliary engines, while a main engine becomes unnecessary. A propeller is installed in an external propeller called “pod” with a built-in motor. The “pod” itself spins 360 degrees and therefore a rudder becomes unneeded and it helps reduce pressure generated by a vessel, making energy efficient voyage possible. Depending on voyage conditions, an ability to control power management, deciding how many auxiliary engines need to be on, is another energy saving factor. Moreover, a direction of the “pod” can be freely controlled, drastically improving vessel’s performance. In addition, lower engine sound and vibrations contribute to a quieter environment inside. However, in case of domestic vessels, construction expenses grow 1.2 times higher than a conventional type.

Need to Urgently Respond to New CO2 Emission Control Regulation

Yanmar says, “Vessels’ CO2 emission reduction is a big issue for the prevention of global warming. According to the International Marine Organization (IMO), the second CO2 regulation for 2010 requires a 20 percent higher reduction than the first one. Furthermore, in 2016 the third regulation will mandate 80 percent of the first regulation. Fishing boats are included in the new CO2 emission control regulation, and thus, it becomes necessary to proactively promote environmental measures, like installing an electric propulsion system. In fact, to comply with the new 2016 regulation, just replacing an engine won't cut it; a system to collect CO2 from exhaust will be needed. First off, we must come up with ways to reduce CO2 discharge.”

In fishing vessels, a far seas tuna boat “Shoei-Maru” was the first one installed with an electric propulsion system. Taishimaru will be the second one.

The original article was published on November 24, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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