A fisherman from Feevah, Shaviyani Atoll, Ahmed Manik discovered a lump of ambergris weighing 82 kilograms on Friday.
Ahmed was fishing in the ocean between the islands of Feevah and Nalandhoo alone on a dingy when he spotted the ambergris floating in the water.
The ambergris, identified as the most highly priced variety, will rake in an estimated MVR 52 million if sold at current market prices. It is currently stored in a barrel and kept inside Ahmed’s house.
According to the fisherman, the room is locked and accessible only to him although many islanders are interested in observing the ambergris.
He elaborated that no other precaution was taken to safeguard the expensive substance as there were no fears of theft.
“Thieves are generally not present in the island. No one would steal an item despite how expensive it is. There also are no drug users in the island,” Ahmed Manik stated.
The common practice of preserving ambergris is to store it in salt water, as many believe that it will shrink and become lighter in a short period, thereby diminishing its value.
However, Ahmed stated that the ambergris was not being preserved in salt water since he has no problem with it shrinking. The fishermen also expressed his intention is to sell it as soon as possible.
Pieces of the substance were packed in stringed plastic bags and sent to the capital city of Male' for testing to confirm its validity as ambergris.
The fisherman also handed over pieces to a friend who makes business trips to Dubai, in order for tests to be carried out in the foreign country.
Ahmed states that it is very likely that the test results will prove the substance he discovered to be ambergris.
In 2014, some natives of Feevah found ambergris weighing 300 kilograms, however only sold for MVR 96,000 as it had shrunk while in storage while the finders struggled to find a buyer.