Photo/IllutrationA school of dead fish embedded in the skating rink at the Space World amusement park in Kita-Kyushu on Nov. 26. (Hiroki Ito)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KITA-KYUSHU--An amusement park here was forced to put a skating rink over thousands of frozen fish in the deep freeze on Nov. 27 after it came under a storm of criticism as being cruel and immoral.

Space World in the city’s Yahata-Higashi Ward said on its website that it has closed the rink, which it had claimed as the world's first, in the face of mounting criticism. It apologized for causing discomfort to the public.

The park opened this year’s skating venue with 5,000 dead fish embedded below the ice on Nov. 12, naming it the Freezing Port--Ice Museum.

The museum acquired the Pacific saury, banded blue-sprat and other varieties at a local fish market for the seasonal event, which was expected to continue through spring. As for large species such as ray and whale sharks, the park placed enlarged pictures under the ice.

At its website, the park touted the attraction as one “enabling visitors to go for a slide on the ice of 5,000 frozen fish” and “the unprecedented attraction must be the world’s first, not to mention Japan’s first.”

It also made a pitch on Facebook with pictures, billing the attraction as “bizarre.”

According to Space World, it began receiving inquiries and criticism after a local TV station in Yamaguchi Prefecture touched on the skating rink on a show on the morning of Nov. 26.

Soon, a flurry of posts appeared at its Facebook site, calling the attraction “cruel.”

One poster said the park “should not waste the lives of creatures” while another criticized the operator “for an appalling lack of a sense of morality.”

A Space World official said the park was aiming to allow visitors to “have a sense of sliding on the sea” through the arrangement.

“We purchased fish hauled and sold dead at a market through a dealer,” the official said. “Misunderstanding spread on the Internet that the fish were frozen alive, but that was not the case. We should have explained more.”

As of Nov. 26, the official said that the park will organize a memorial service for the fish next year.