Cash-strapped fisherman finds whale vomit on beach – worth up to $1.2 million

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A cash-strapped fisherman has changed his fortune after discovering whale vomit on the beach – which could be worth up to a whopping $1.2 million (£880,800).

Narong Phetcharaj was returning from shore when he noticed what looked like an ordinary rock at Niyom beach in Thailand.

The curious fisherman summoned help from experts at the Prince of Songkla University, who identified it as ambergris – which is used to make expensive perfumes.

The hardened substance, which has in the past been dubbed "floating gold", can be sold for more than £35,000 per kilo.

Luckily for Narong, his find weighed in at a hefty 30kg – which means he could rake in thousands, reports

Ambergris is produced by sperm whales and can often be found floating in the sea or washed up on beaches.

Once it dries out, the substance develops a long-lasting fragrance which is reported to be highly sought after.

Earlier this year, a group of fishermen came across the substance while they were sailing in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen.

The team of 35 cut through the whales gut and discovered a large amount of the waxy blob.

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The team of 35 cut through the whales gut and discovered a large amount of the waxy blob.

To their surprise, the vomit was worth £1.1 million, which they later split between them and donated some of the funds to those less fortunate in their community.

They believed the carcass could contain ambergris because of the unique smell it gave off as they closed in on it.

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Sperm whaling became a major industry in the 19th century but was later banned in 1986 in order to protect the species from being hunted.

One of the fishermen told the BBC: "We decided to hook the whale in, take it to shore and cut into it to see what was inside its belly, and yes, it was ambergris.

"The smell wasn’t very nice, but lots of money," he added.

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  • Animals
  • BBC
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