Fishermen make 'wonderful' $2 million find in stomach of whale

A group of fishermen in the war-torn Middle East will never be the same after a life-changing find inside the stomach of a whale.

The men are newly rich after becoming the owners of a 127 kilogram clump of dried whale vomit, roughly valued at nearly $2 million ($US1.5 million).

The odorous organic material – known as ambergris – is certainly more valuable than it looks.

The fishermen from Yemen made the lucrative discovery in the carcass of a sperm whale in the Gulf of Aden, the BBC reported.

The lucky find is expected to lift the fisherman out of poverty.
The lucky find is expected to lift the fishermen out of poverty. Source: BBC

The 35-person fishing crew reeled in the carcass with the stench coming from the dead animal giving them hope they would discover ambergris hidden inside.

Ambergris is produced by sperm whales when bile ducts in the gastrointestinal tract make secretions to ease the passage of large or sharp objects. The whale then vomits the mucilage, which solidifies and floats on the surface of the ocean.

Why whale vomit is so valuable

The solid chunk has a foul smell at first but after the mucilage dries out, it develops a sweet and long-lasting fragrance, which makes it a sought-after ingredient in the perfume industry.

Therein lies its tremendous value.

"I felt so happy," one fisherman told the BBC. "Wonderful feelings I can't describe."

Another fisherman in the group said they had a feeling there was a "treasure" inside the whale.

"We had a feeling this whale had something," he said.

"We decided to hook the whale in, take it to the shore and cut into it to see what was inside its belly."

What they found inside ultimately promises to lift the group out of poverty.

"The smell wasn't very nice, but lots of money."

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