Space World, an amusement park in Kitakyushu, Japan went viral over the weekend due to a so-called “Ice Aquarium” attraction in which the park froze thousands of fish — approximately 5,000 sprats, mackerel and other varieties, to be exact — into the ice for visitors to skate across. As you can see in the above video, the fish were frozen into shapes such as an arrow, and in one part of the ice, to spell out the word “hello.”
To the surprise of absolutely no one, however, the reason for the attraction going viral was due to massive internet outrage, as Space World was forced to close the skating rink Sunday after its Facebook page became flooded with complaints. Critics called the Ice Aquarium “insane and cruel and disrespectful to nature,” among other things. Other joked by captioning photos of the attraction with things like, “I am d… d… drowning, s … s… suffocating.”
The park later released a statement to the Japan Times, saying that they apologized to anyone who felt uncomfortable over the event, and that “as a result, we have stopped the event from today.”
A spokesperson told the Asahi Shimbun that the park was considering holding a memorial service for the fish next year, adding that the fish were already dead when they were bought from a local wholesaler.
“Misunderstandings spread on the internet that the fish were frozen while they were still alive, but that was not the case,” the spokesperson told the newspaper. “We should have explained more.”
So the internet can relax in that the fish were not in fact killed by being frozen to death, but in some other unknown way ostensibly less cruel than freezing. The park is now planning to use the fish as fertilizer, but at the very least it seems like an egregious waste of food.