Japan has faced its share of controversy regarding its treatment (or rather, mistreatment) of sea life. Just three years ago, scientists issued a statement denouncing the killing method used by dolphin hunters in Taiji, Japan, and concluded that “This killing method does not conform to the recognized requirement for ‘immediate insensibility’ and would not be tolerated or permitted in any regulated slaughterhouse process in the developed world”. Unfortunately, the hunt is still allowed, with the Japanese government setting a kill quota of 1,820 dolphins and capture quota of 150 live animals for the 2016-17 season, which runs from September to March.
The current controversy is less cruel, but considerably more creepy: “Space World”, a theme park located in Yahatahigashi-ku, Kitakyūshū, Japan, has issued a public apology after visitors flooded social media with complaints about its latest attraction, “Freezing Port” – a skating rink featuring approximately 5,000 sea creatures frozen in the ice.
The public’s reaction to the rink, which opened on November 12, has been brutally negative, leading park manager Toshimi Takeda to the decision to unfreeze the rink, remove the dead fish, crabs, and other crustaceans, and hold a memorial service with a Shinto priest for the animals. Space World spokesman Koji Shibata told news agencies that the fish were purchased dead, and were considered unfit to be sold in markets, combating rumors that the fish were frozen alive in the rink.