Oceans of Opportunity

The a[l]lure of an Aquarium on Ice?

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all…

A Japanese theme park tried to draw visitors by freezing 5,000 fish beneath its ice rink, but a public outcry forced it to close the attraction after just two weeks.

Source: Aquarium on Ice, a Lure for Skaters in Japan, Appalls Them Instead – NYTimes.com

From an artistic perspective, this is certainly creative. The controversy lies with where the animals came from – were they purposefully harvested for this exhibit, bycatch, purchased from a market, other? On one hand I hear the environmentalists loud and clear in that this is nothing short of an atrocity and disrespect for nature. On the other hand, if carefully curated, this is a unique presentation of the aquatic realm for public viewing. Consider that we have human bodies on display at exhibits such as BodyWorlds and BodyWorks – with the intent of raising awareness of the marvels of science and anatomy. We also keep animals in captivity in far less than ideal circumstances for human educational benefit. There is indeed a delicate balance with these things, but in this case, it seems the public has spoken.

That is somewhat ironic, however, given that Japan (and other Asian cultures) are often viewed [by the West] as rather ruthless when it comes to overfishing and resource exploitation. The fact that the visitors to this exhibit stirred a public outcry is reassuring, and is also consistent with my observations of Asian culture during recent visits to Hong Kong. is at the heart of these Eastern cultures, but there is also an emerging appreciation for marine resources, particularly amongst younger generations.

It can be easy to pass judgement on people and cultures from far off lands. A life of worldly travels teaches you to take pause. It’s important to have opinions and voice them, though equally important to curate them carefully – above, below, or within the cold-hearted ice.

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