A struggling fisherman has reeled in the catch of a lifetime worth $470,000.
Jumrus Thiachot, 55, spotted the 6.5kg piece of ambergris while he was walking along the beach in Koh Samui, southern Thailand, earlier this year.
Mr Thiachot suspected the strange lump may be whale vomit but was unsure, so he placed it in his shed and continued his job as a fisherman earning 400 baht per day (A$19).
When word spread that the fisherman may have valuable whale vomit in his shed, neighbours offered to help verify the find.
"Three of my neighbours came after my nephew told the villagers that I found a whale vomit," Mr Thiachot said.
A few neighbours took some samples but nobody could confirm what the lump was.
"They asked for slices and said that they would run some checks to prove that it was really a whale vomit, but they said the tests didn't show anything,” he said.
Almost a year passed before Mr Thiachot’s curiosity got to him and he made a call.
"I needed to know the truth, so that's why I contacted the authorities to check,” he said.
On October 22 Surat Thani provincial governor Witchawuth Jinto arrived with specialists and they confirmed that the chunk contained more than 80 percent of Ambergris, also known as whale vomit.
Based on pervious sales the catch could be worth as much as $470,000.
“Now I know it is real whale vomit and I will sell it,” the happy fisherman said.
What ambergis or whale vomit is used for
Ambergris is produced by sperm whales when they vomit up mucilage, when it solidifies and has a foul smell however after it dries out the vomit will start to smell pleasant, which makes it a sought-after ingredient in the perfume fragrance industry.
In November 2016, three Omani fishermen found 80 kgs of ambergris and sold it for $3 million USD.
Governer Witchawuth said they are advising the fisherman on what he should do next to get the best price for his lucky find but there is no word on if Mr Thiachot will continue his day job after his lucky find.
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