Wailing Over Whales

Wholesale buyers and curious onlookers pack Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market at the break of day, scrambling to stay clear of men in rubber boots slopping buckets of bloody water. There are vats of squid and tubs of eel and whole tuna the size of human torsos. Just about any water-dwelling thing can be found at Tsukiji, the world's largest fish market. Except fresh whale.

Old whale meat is available at a few specialty stores, but prices are steep, buyers mutter, because of foreign intervention. Hunks of deep-red stomach flesh cost $15 per lb.; plastic-wrapped blubber "bacon" goes for...

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