A Japanese theme park has apologized for freezing 5,000 fish into the floor of an ice skating rink and has closed the attraction after facing backlash from the public.
Japan’s Space World theme park froze 25 different types of fish, crabs, and other shellfish into the ice as part of a winter attraction called “Freezing Port,” CNN reported.
The park showed pictures of some fish half-submerged into the ice with their mouths open and other fish arranged into arrows and other shapes.
The photos had captions such as, “I am d… d… drowning, s … s… suffocating.”
Online commenters flooded the site with negative reviews.
“What were you people thinking, to use dead fish to decorate a playground?” said one commenter, who added the rink was “disrespectful of life.”
“This really makes me upset. Do you think children are happy to see this fish in skate rink?” Miura Tsubasa commented.
Space World manager Toshimi Takeda said he has received a deluge of negative reactions after the attraction was broadcast on national television, and he apologized for the project.
“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 to CNN.
“(But) we had endless opinions about the project, we were shocked. … We are sorry for the project and decided to close the rink on that night.”
Takeda said the park would unfreeze the skate rink to remove the fish, hold a memorial ceremony for the fish, and reuse them as fertilizer.
He added that the fish were purchased from local fish markets, unfit for consumption, and were already dead before they were frozen.
“We received critical voices saying it is not good to use creatures as a toy, and that it is bad to let food go to waste,” Space World spokesman Koji Shibata said to Sky News.
A representative for the park said that the rink had been closed since Sunday and that the rink would reopen without the fish in December, BBC News reported.