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Uoichi's Forecasts of Chum Salmon and Mackerel for August

July 9, 2010

[Chum Salmon] Chum salmon, as by-catch of trout stationary net fishing, will begin arriving mid August. They are by-catch of stationary nets for trout fixed along the coasts of Nemuro to Okhotsk. A larger amount of chum salmon will start coming in as soon as salmon stationary net fishing opens late August. The projected market rates are female salmon, weighting 2.6-4.1kg (round), from \900-1,200; male, 2.7-5.0kg (round), from \600-700.

[Salted Mackerel] The current inventory in Norway is low. New crops will be landed commencing in August; based on the present condition, their auction prices will be high. Price changes are predicted anew. The amount of Japanese mackerel in stock is also scarce. Depending on catches from Sanriku and Choshi, which begin in August, their market prices will fluctuate.

The original article was published on July 9, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Interim Report on Chilean Quake Damage

July 8, 2010

The Japanese Institute of Technology on Fishing Ports, Grounds, and Communities (JIFIC) released its interim report on the damage on marine farm facilities by the Chilean earthquake in February.

A tsunami caused by a major quake in Chile on February 27 hit the coasts of Japan, ending with eight prefectures, Iwate, Miyazaki, and Wakayama among others sustaining damage. Oyster, wakame seaweed, and kelp were washed away from pounded aquaculture facilities and some ships were overturned, resulting in the total damage of \6.379 billion.

JIFIC performed firsthand investigations on damage to marine farm facilities at the Kesennuma Bay in Miyagi, and the Miyako Bay and the Yamada Bay in Iwate. It also grasped the scale of damage with a numerical simulation of the Kesennuma Bay.

The majority of rafts and longline-style aquaculture facilities at the closed-off section, the mouth, and Oshima-seto of the Kesennuma Bay drifted away, blocking off water pathways and berths. What was revealed from tsunami simulation was concentrated damage to the areas hit by the current speed of 1m/s or higher.

The speed of the tsunami that smashed into the Miyako Bay was rapid and the damage was experienced mainly in the central part of the bay; despite which, a customary practice against tsunamis and high waves paid off, resulting in relatively less damage to the area.

The Yamada Bay, undergoing less devastation compared to other regions, was saved by the shape of the bay - a narrow bay mouth with a wide closed-off section -, allowing the speed of the tsunami to decelerate.

Proposals to Hamper Drifting Farm Facilities

JIFIC proposed measures to avert farm facilities floating away: 1) installation of drift prevention methods in farm equipment; 2) placement of floating nets to collect drifting farm facilities at a narrowed segment; and 3) installation of anchor piles for drift prevention - a facility that can stand rapid current speeds -. By improving accuracies of experiments and simulations, JIFIC will continue unraveling the phenomena and investigating the effectiveness of prevention methods.

The original article was published on July 8, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Japan Finance Corporation Study: Consumers Are Getting Fed Up With Frugality

July 8, 2010

According to a study conducted by the Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, and Food business Unit of Japan Finance Corporation, it was revealed that, now that the economy was in an upswing mode, consumers were getting tired of being frugal when it came to food consumption. Economic orientation, a trend that consumers' food purchasing practices fluctuate by the content of their wallets, was showing an upward trajectory from 2008; however, this current is now heading downward after its peak point of January 2010 in the previous survey. Preference for homemade-meals, a trend where consumers cook in, abruptly declined and in contrast, there was a rise in preference for convenience, a trend where consumers make do with convenience foods.

Health Consciousness Remains High

Japan Finance Corporation carried out an online food survey early June, targeting 2,000 participants nationwide with the age range of 20-60 years.

Economic orientation dropped to 39 percent from 43 percent in the previous poll of January 2010; the outlook projection of this category bespoke the same downward trend at 38 percent.

Consumer preference for food safety, which was 41 percent in the study conducted in May 2008, fell to 16 percent in the last survey; the most recent study showed a slight recovery to 19 percent. With progressively growing aging demography in the society, consumer health consciousness stayed high.

Decline in "Eating More at Home"

In the category of "dietary changes due to the current financial condition," a percentage of "eating more at home" considerably tumbled in both lunch and dinner compared to the previous research. In addition, the amount of food purchases as a whole was trending downward; nonetheless, the diminution rate was getting smaller. Vegetables, whose prices hiked due to poor yields, were markedly consumed less. More marine foods, indicating an increase of seven percent, were purchased than the last survey.

Consumer Preference for Domestically Produced Foods Marks 60%; "Do Not Really Care" Increases

Consumers who would choose domestically produced foods over imported goods, even if the former were priced higher, still remained at 60 percent. However, the demographic that chose "it does not matter" increased every time the research was performed, reaching 12 percent in the most updated study.

The original article was published on July 8, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations: Joint Meeting on Fisheries Income Indemnity Policy

July 7, 2010

The JF National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations (JF Zengyoren) hosted a joint meeting with groups related to the fisheries income indemnity policy in Tokyo on July 5. There were intensive elucidations of how the fisheries income indemnity policy should operate and of the implementation of the "Study on Production Costs of Fishermen," commissioned by the Fisheries Agency, at the meeting.

Fisheries Agency, "Income Indemnity Policy in Conjunction with Resource Recovery"

Ken Mori, Manager of the Policy Planning Division of the Fisheries Policy Planning Department at the Fisheries Agency, said, "In step with the Democratic Party of Japan's manifesto and new growth strategy policies by cabinet councils, direct income indemnity policy for fisheries will begin in 2011. It will be linked with resource recovery; a subject matter of Japan's fishing industry." He then outlined the following three points: "First of all, compared with the agricultural sector, the fisheries sector has a wide array of fish species. We are lacking data on production costs in this sector and there is a need for a field survey. The data is much required to report to taxpayers. Secondly, by uncovering the actual situation of resource management, we can make utilization of resources with a future in mind. Resource management and the income indemnity policy will be packaged together. We must grasp each region's resource management practices. Lastly, we ought to carry out a survey analysis to examine whether a fisheries mutual-aid program "Tsumitate Plus" has been running properly as a stable management measure. The survey is essential when we mull over the income indemnity policy and its trouble-free implementation. Therefore, we ask for stakeholders' cooperation."

JF Zengyoren Managing Director Nobihiro Nagaya commented: "In the case of agriculture, rice is a single item; its standard model indicates upwards of \10,000 per 10 ares. A standard based on a single item isn't applicable to fisheries. In addition, the fisheries income indemnity policy is designed to remove a concern over an income drop; it is clearly using a system of "Tsumitate Plus." After conducting the production cost survey, we want to use the results for our appropriate standard models and then make those models the basis for the fisheries income indemnity policy."

Some attendees voiced their concerns and opinions: "The previous fuel price range between 30-40 yen is our limit in running fisheries; therefore, when the prices go beyond our manageable level, we want the price gap to be compensated as a safety-net" and "how can fisheries not covered by a fisheries mutual-aid program be compensated?"

The original article was published on July 7, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

May Seafood Imports Tumble 3% to 220,000t

July 6, 2010

Bonito and Octopus Tumble Significantly

Based on trade statistics (preliminary) released by the Ministry of Finance, the total seafood import amount for the month of May tallied in at 219,585 tons, down three percent on a year-over-year basis. An average unit price rose three percent to \509/kg. The total value remained similar to the corresponding month last year at \111.8 billion.

While there were increases in bluefin (up 89 percent during the same period last year); yellowfin (up 23 percent); herring (up 31 percent); sebastes matsubarae (up 74 percent); pollack surimi (up 79 percent); and prepared eel (roasted eel up 16 percent), noticeable contractions in the following fish species were seen: bigeye (down 16 percent); bonito (down 37 percent); salmon/trout (down 32 percent); squid (down 41 percent); octopus (down 70 percent); and fishmeal (down 18 percent).

As for drastically increased herring, Russian herring showed a six-fold rise to 960 tons and a US kind swelled 17 percent to 7,000 tons. Pollack surimi from the United States shot up by 80 percent totaling 7,700 tons.

On the other hand, Chilean coho salmon reduced by half amounting to 2,000 tons. Chilean trout, excluding fillets, likewise plummeted 40 percent to 2,700 tons.

In import unit value, squid jumped 90 percent ending in \505/kg. Roasted eel marked \1,621; and fishmeal was up 50 percent registering \137. Salmon/trout were \689; and octopus increased 20 percent recording \574.

The original article was published on July 6, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

RFMO: China Builds Vessels Anti Resource Management

July 6, 2010

Masanori Miyahara, Councilor of the Resources Management Department, the Fisheries Agency, attended an international workshop on RFMO management of tuna fisheries of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) that took place from June 21 to July 1 in Brisbane, Australia; he held a press meeting at the Agency's press club on July 5.

Councilor Miyahara said, referring to the workshop, "Based on the facts of the excessive number of tuna boats on a global basis and the increasing fishing capacity of large purse seiners in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, Japan called for distant water fishing nations to cut down on the number of large purse seiners (20 percent for instance), to start with; however, an agreement was never reached. I believe that Japan's standpoints were understood to a certain extent. And yet I truly felt the difficulty to find common ground, amid a typical situation of agreeing with a plan in general, but not compromising on details."

Each RFMO will come up with measures to grapple with an issue of overcapacity down the road; there is however a concern over China's becoming busy constructing purse seiners against the current flow of stock management.

The original article was published on July 6, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Atlantis Group's Subsidiary, Mediterranean Bluefin Farming Company, Completes Stock Swap

July 6, 2010

Share Swapping Between Tuna Firm Kali Tuna and LGL Corp

The Atlantis Group announced the bartering of all of the issued and outstanding shares of its subsidiary, Kali Tuna, a northern bluefin tuna (NBT) aquaculture firm in the Mediterranean, for newly issued restricted shares of Lions Gate Lighting Corp (LGL), a Nevada-based company. Simultaneously, LGL gained $7.3 million through the issuance of shares and warrants in a private placement offering.

LGL intends to adjust its name to Umami Sustainable Seafood Inc. (Umami) as soon as possible. The revenue base of Umami is Kali Tuna, an NBT aquaculture firm operating out of the Croatian territorial waters of the Adriatic Sea. The share exchange that resulted in Kali Tuna's listing in the US stock market through Umami enables Kali Tuna to tap into larger capital resources.

The earnings from the private offering, along with additionally issued stocks, will be put to use to fund the acquisition of the operations in the Mediterranean, to boost financial power of existing businesses, and to finance research and development in NBT firming technology, e.g. NBT reproduction and feeding programs.

Umami plans to utilize the Atlantis Group as its dealership and import the majority of products to Japan. Oli Steindorsson, who is to become the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Umami, has been the CEO of the Atlantis Group since 2004 and a director of Kali Tuna since 2005.

Mr. Steindorsson said, "Building on the Croatian success of Kali Tuna and our sales expertise, we intend to become the leader of the Northern Bluefin Tuna industry. We have a tremendous operating company with many experienced people and the capital and opportunities."

The original article was published on July 6, 2010 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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