Ambergris, also referred to as the “treasure of the sea” or “floating gold” is the most sought-after material as it is used in perfumes to help them last longer. It usually sells for up to $50,000 per kilogram.
A group of 35 fishermen from Yemen hit upon an unbelievable jackpot and their rags to riches story is now going viral around the world.
It happened as they came across the carcass of a giant sperm whale.
These poor fishermen learnt about the ambergris or ‘whale vomit’ while sailing in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Seriah in southern Yemen.
According to media reports, a fisherman from Seriah alerted a group of 35 fishermen to a carcass of the giant mammal and told them it might contain ambergris. On approaching the giant corpse, the fishermen smelt the ripe aroma of marine fecal odor. It made them certain there was something inside the belly. The group then took the body of the dead mammal ashore to examine it.
On cutting it open, they were surprised to find lump of waxy, black ambergris weighing more than 125kg. However, their surprise turned to ecstasy when they learnt that the “treasure” was worth a whopping $1.5 million.
Ambergris…a substance found in the belly of a whale – used in perfumes and very valuable. Yemen fishermen found $1.5m worth of it in the belly of a whale – BBC News pic.twitter.com/MyhTl29Dtn
— Margaret Gilmour (@GilmourGirl14) June 1, 2021
“We are all poor. It was an unimaginable price. We never expected this thing would give us such a huge amount,” one of the men told the media.
Fishermen in #Yemen found "treasure" worth $1.5m inside belly of whale. They noticed whale floating and when they cut the body they found gray amber inside substance that grows in intestines of whales and used for perfume industry. • Local merchant bought the amber for huge sum. pic.twitter.com/wo8XxY0uid
— Eli Dror (@edrormba) June 1, 2021
Reportedly, the fishermen sold the substance for approximately 1.3 billon Yemeni rials (about $1.5 million) to a trader from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
They decided to share the profits equally but also donated some money to poor families in their community. Fishing is the main source of income in Yemen, which is known as one of the world’s poorest countries.