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.
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.
The United Nations reports that Yemen has a population of around 24.1 million and 80% are said to be “in need of humanitarian aid and protection.”
Sperm whales produce a rare and coveted substance known as ambergris, which is used by some fragrance manufacturers for scent stabilization. (iStock)
Beside this Yemeni group of fisherman, other people throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia have found multimillion-dollar pieces of ambergris.
In 2016 Gulf News reported that three fisherman in Oman found and sold 176 pounds of ambergris, which was worth nearly $3 million. Four years later, a Thai fisherman found and sold his 220-pound ambergris find that was worth around $3.3, according to the Daily Mail.
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.