Fisherman seeks verification of B10m ambergris catch

Fisherman seeks verification of B10m ambergris catch

Jamras Thiachote, 55, right, shows the six-kilogramme lump that he hopes is ambergris to Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto, on Koh Phaluay in Koh Samui district, Surat Thani, on Tuesday. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
Jamras Thiachote, 55, right, shows the six-kilogramme lump that he hopes is ambergris to Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto, on Koh Phaluay in Koh Samui district, Surat Thani, on Tuesday. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

SURAT THANI: A local fisherman has asked provincial authorities to help verify if a large, buoyant lump of material he found on an island beach is indeed ambergris and worth about 10 million baht.

Koh Phaluay resident Jamras Thiachote, 55, showed the six-kilogramme lump to Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto, who visited the island in Koh Samui district on Tuesday.

The lump looks like a rock or lump of rubber, with gold and brown colouring. It floated when it was placed in a pail filled with water.

Mr Jamras said he came across the lump on a beach on Jan 3 after Storm Pabuk passed over the island. He had no idea what it was and he just left it there. A young relative searched the internet and announced he believed it was ambergris. So he went back to the beach and brought it home.

"When I cut it with a knife, it gave off a fishy smell for a moment," the fisherman said.

Learning of his discovery, three people in the village asked for a 500-gramme slice, claiming they would have it verified if it was ambergris. "I have not heard anything from these three people since," Mr Jamras said.

A park ranger on Koh Phaluay told him it was likely he had found some ambergris, he said. Local observers said if it is ambergris a lump that size would be worth about 10 million baht.

Ambergis is a highly valued waxy substance secreted by the sperm whale and found floating at sea or washed ashore. It is used in perfume.


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