Space World says it will now host a memorial service for the dead fish after accusations of cruelty
A Japanese theme park has been forced to close its ice rink after becoming the centre of a social media storm after patrons took to social media to complain about how dead fish had been arranged into patterns in the ice.
Space World, in the southern city of Kitakyushu, debuted the unusual attraction earlier this month, its designers having chosen to create a rink that allows skaters to speed across the slippery surface over schools of fish frozen stationary in the ice.
A series of tweets promoting the frozen piscine artwork caught the attention of the Japanese public, whose heated reactions started trending online. Images of the fish, some of them spelling out words like ‘hello’ under the ice, were shared widely, sparking comments that the park was acting in “bad taste” or behaving in a “cruel” fashion towards the fish.
The rink also contained larger exhibits like crabs, stingrays and sharks, but according to the park managers these were just enlarged photos embedded into the ice.
Responding to the criticism, Space World’s managers said that the 5,000 mackerel and other fish species had been purchased dead from nearby fish markets, but rumours persisted online that the fish had been frozen to death while still alive.
Following the negative reaction from the public, Space World made the decision to close the ice rink, dubbed the Aquarium of Ice, apologising to anyone who felt uncomfortable. Speaking to the AFP, general manager Toshimi Takeda said that Space World will hold a memorial prayer ceremony to honour the fish.