A NORTHERN Rivers man is rumoured to have found a lump of ambergis on a beach which has the potential to be highly valuable.
Ambergis, otherwise known as whale vomit, is a rare commodity and valued because of its use as a bonding agent in perfumes.
In 2016 a couple in the UK found a 1.57kg lump of ambergris which was estimated to be worth up to US$70,000 (A$100,000) at the time.
The Hindustani Times reported in November last year that three Omani fishermen hit the jackpot after scooping from the ocean 80kg of "whale vomit", expected to net them US$2.5 million.
Whether it is actually whale vomit, or something which lodges itself in the intestines of the sperm whale before being expelled out the other end of the creature, is disputed as much as its legality.
One thing all sources do seem to agree on is that the product is a compressed bolus of squid beaks and other organic matter which, after being expelled from the whale and floating around in the ocean for a while, forms a mass which is highly prized for its use in the perfume industry; presumably not for its scent - which is variously described as earthy, musk-like and poo - but for its use as a fixative.
The good news for the lucky person who may have stumbled across this pungent "gold mine" on the beach is "it is not illegal to possess or sell ambergris within New South Wales", according to a spokesman for the Office of Environment and Heritage.
"If the ambergris was given to the National Parks and Wildlife Service it would be used for educational purposes," they said.
"Regulations can differ in other states and territories and people are advised to check the rules regarding ambergris in those jurisdictions."
So next time you are out on a beach, keep your eyes peeled, as that next lump you stumble across could put enough money in the bank for a house deposit.
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