By Cortney Moore
A group of Yemeni fishermen had their lives changed with whale vomit.
The odorous organic material – also known as ambergris – came from a sperm whale carcass in the Gulf of Aden, according to the BBC.
The material is created when a sperm whale can’t digest beaks from squid and cuttlefish, according to recent theories that believe ambergris is regurgitated as a protective mechanism following intestinal irritation.
Yemen fishermen find $1.5m of ambergris in the belly of a whale https://t.co/v05Qq73VNz
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 1, 2021
Thirty-five men reeled in the deceased whale under the suspicion that the whale contained ambergris based on its smell, one of the fishermen explained in a video interview with the BBC.
The 280 pounds of ambergris was reportedly sold for $1.5 million to a trader in the United Arab Emirates, according to The India Times.
Meanwhile, the collection and sale of ambergris is illegal in the U.S. due to it being a byproduct from an endangered species per policies set in place by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Over in Yemen though, the fishermen split their seven-figure catch and have bought cars, homes and boats while also making charitable donations to their village, according to the BBC.
Today, ambergris is used as a preservative in perfumes and other fragrance products. The musky scent is reportedly used in many European and Middle Eastern perfume brands, according to Fragrantica – an online perfume encyclopedia.
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