Used as fixative in perfumes, it fetches a high price in international market

Fishermen of the Chinnoor coastal village stumbled upon a lump of ambergris, weighing about 15 kg, in the mid-sea. According to Customs officials ambergris of such mass is a rare find in the region.

Since ambergris is used as a fixative in perfumes and cosmetics, it fetches a handsome price in the market. According to E.Vijayakumar, Assistant Commissioner of Customs, the value of the ambergris brought by the Chinnoor fishermen is worth Rs. 15 lakh—Rs. 20 lakh in the Indian market and Rs. 70 lakh—Rs. 75 lakh in the international markets.

Mr. Vijayakumar exhibiting the ambergris to presspersons on his office premises at the Cuddalore Old Town area on Wednesday said that initially fishermen mistook the floating substance for jelly fish and did not evince any interest. They were not aware of how ambergris looked or its worth. However, a veteran fisherman among them did not want to abandon the substance. He was curious and keen on gathering it, as he had heard a lot about it from his forefathers.

The fishermen collected the ambergris and deposited it with panchayat president Ganesan and secretary Aruugham who informed the Customs officials. A team from Customs Department, including Mr Vijayakumar, Superintendent M.Mohd. Abdul Gani and Inspector H.Sowrirajan, went to the coastal village and took custody of the wax-like substance. The Centre of Advanced Study for Marine Biology at Parangipettai confirmed that the substance was ambergris.

Mr Gani told The Hindu that the substance in possession was yellowish.

Ambergris is the intestinal secretion of sperm whale.

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