SpaceWorld’s “Aquarium of Ice” has been under fire by animal rights supporters for their unique attraction. But is it really all that it seems?
On 12 November the Freezing Port ice skating rink in Fukuoka theme park SpaceWorld opened their Aquarium of Ice. For this event they took about 5,000 aquatic creatures and froze them below the surface of the rink’s well manicured ice.
In what is a first for Japan and possibly the world, SpaceWorld was eager to promote their idea on Twitter and other social media. Images showed what appeared to be several fish, crabs, and even stingrays under a layer of ice. (Captions are translations of the tweets.)
▼ “Glub glub glub! A huge school of fish appeared in SpaceWorld!”
スペースワールド【公式】 (@SpaceWorld_info) October 26, 2016
▼ “Schools of fish in the skating rink… are growing!”
スペースワールド【公式】 (@SpaceWorld_info) October 28, 2016
▼ “A beach appeared in SpaceWorld?! Where could this be? No way…”
スペースワールド【公式】 (@SpaceWorld_info) October 29, 2016
▼ “Ice skating attraction ‘Aquarium of Ice’ open today!”
スペースワールド【公式】 (@SpaceWorld_info) November 12, 2016
However, the response was less than enthusiastic.
▼ “So are you supposed to skate as if you are running over the fish? I think that’s really in bad taste.”
てぃけ #IamnotABE (@TK074HAKUTAKA) November 26, 2016
▼ “Do you enjoy having such a disregard for life?”
仁 (@g28z0) November 26, 2016
▼ “Are you insane?! It’s not normal thinking to embrace abuse. This is a terrible thing. You are doing something horrible. Is this what you make of 5,000 lives? You treat 5,000 lives so poorly to kill them without a reason.”
@SpaceWorld_info 正気ですか？ 普通に考えておかしい、虐待、可哀想と抱くことですよね？ その感覚ないのでしょうか？ とても恐ろしいことです。恐ろしいことしてます。 5000の命をどのように考えていますか？ 殺される理由のない5000の命,命を粗末に扱ってます。—
めー子♡12/11NO FUR WALK (@yachiyo882002) November 27, 2016
Furthermore, some images circulating online have shown what looks like fish and even a whale shark under ice along with red splatterings that appear to be blood.
今日のニュース速報事故事件 (@cnanewsjp) November 26, 2016
ねとらぼ (@itm_nlab) November 26, 2016
In response to the outrage, SpaceWorld spoke with website Netlab to clear up some misconceptions over the event. First, they said that all of the fish were bought already dead from fish markets. Furthermore, these fish were deemed below standards and not fit for sale, meaning that they would have been thrown away regardless.
As for the more exotic animals like sting rays and whale sharks: those were simply photographs that they pasted to the floor of the rink at life-sized scale. In other words, no animals were caught or harmed for the purpose of creating the Aquarium of Ice.
While this explanation may cool some of the anger directed at SpaceWorld, it pretty much drains all of the fantasy from the Aquarium of Ice to know that you’re skating on top of some discarded z-grade seafood and a few decals.
While the event is still posted on their website as of this writing, all mention of the Aquarium of Ice aside from an apology was removed from the SpaceWorld Facebook page, and only a few tweets remain referring to it.
▼ “We apologize to everyone who was offended by the Aquarium of Ice. We will delete related posts.”
It may be safe to say that this ill-fated campaign is dead in the water.