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Frozen Fish Gimmick of Japan Theme Park Angers Public

By Rose C
Nov 30, 2016 05:52 AM EST

Japanese theme park Space World received public criticism after freezing 5,000 marine creatures into the ice rink, forcing it to hold off all its operations last Sunday.

The amusement park located on the southwestern island of Kyushu which opened early November received flak on Twitter and Facebook where netizens called the gimmick as disrespectful and cruel.

Space World manager Toshimi Takeda told CNN Monday how netizens were upset after seeing the broadcast on television. "We were shocked to hear the reaction as the ice skate rink was very popular since it opened two weeks ago, we had an unprecedented number of visitors," he said.

The concept was part of the Special Winter attraction of the park called "Freezing Port." Different sea creatures were frozen under the sheet of ice and the park's website even advertised the attraction as a "world's first." About 25 different kinds of fish could be seen under the 250-meter-long (820-foot) ice rink. Some of the fishes embedded in the rink were manta rays, crabs, and sharks among others.

In the park's defense, Takeda claims that the fishes used in the rink were already dead and purchased at a local supermarket. In a report from Daily Mail Online, Takeda said the intention was to have "customers to experience the feeling of skating on the sea, but after receiving criticism, we decided that we could not operate it anymore."

Due to the social media uproar, Space World released a public apology on Facebook saying that they will be canceling the event and will hold a memorial service for the dead fishes.

"We apologize to everyone who was offended by the Aquarium of Ice. We will delete related posts." Space World removed all online mentions and pictures of the frozen fishes and ice rink after the Facebook statement. 

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