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A value chain analysis of the North Pacific krill industries in Japan


This study analyzes the structure of North Pacific krill Euphausia pacifica fisheries in Japan and the value chain from producer to consumer. Krill fishery is conducted along the Pacific coast of Japan, and the catch is mainly used as frozen bait for recreational fisheries and partly for dry food. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with stakeholders of the krill industry in the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures to analyze the industrial structure from production to distribution and retail. Based on the information obtained from interviews, storefront surveys, and the available statistics, we analyzed the value chain of the krill industry, which was found to be similar to that of other seafood industries. Overall, a market mechanism is functional at each distribution stage based on the demand of anglers (consumers) and the krill market is competitive. Together with the survey results, we found that the production adjustment may benefit the producers in the short run, but create market inefficiencies and may reduce the market share and increase inexpensive substitutes. Instead, market expansion strategy by developing new krill products, or by increasing dried krill may benefit them in the long run.

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  1. However, some of the shops did not have domestic krill products on their shelves because of product shortages and surged prices due to the poor catch in 2021. We obtained wholesale prices from some retailers, but they were too different from the annual average price to compare with prices in 2019.


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This research is the subject of “Development of data-oriented real-time analysis platform for sustainable fisheries” supported by the creation and integration of artificial intelligence basic technology that contributes to the launching of JST CREST innovation (2016, Principal Investigator: Iiyama) Masaaki, Grant No. JPMJCR19F1), which is part of the research results. We would like to thank Mr. Takao Araki, Fisheries Promotion Division, Iwate Prefecture, for his extraordinary support in coordinating the interview survey. We would also like to thank the fish processing companies, unions, and fish markets in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures for their cooperation in the interview survey. Our gratitude extends to anonymous reviewers who provided us with useful comment to improve this study.

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Correspondence to Hiroki Wakamatsu.

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Wakamatsu, H., Lu, YH. & Sajiki, T. A value chain analysis of the North Pacific krill industries in Japan. Fish Sci 88, 653–661 (2022).

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  • Pacific krill
  • Japan
  • Value chain analysis
  • Seafood distribution