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Byron Shire
November 30, 2021

Whale throws up, goverment alerted

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Mr Finnegan's lucky ambergris find lying on a copy of the Echo for size comparison. Photo Paul Finnegan
Mr Finnegan’s lucky ambergris find lying on a copy of the Echo for size comparison. Photo Paul Finnegan

Local man Paul Finnegan says he couldn’t believe his luck after finding a very rare and valuable wax-like substance that was secreted from the intestines of a sperm whale on a local beach last Wednesday.

It’s called ambergris and is used in perfume manufacture, yet is unlawful to keep despite there being no effect on the whale.

‘I’m told it’s illegal to own or sell,’ he told Echonetdaily, and added that National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have asked him to drop it in to their offices.

‘It feels unaccountable to do that,’ he says. ‘I’d like to know where it will end up, as it has commercial value. Personally I would love to see the money from this used for whale research or given to Sea Shepherd. There’s no guarantee of what will happen with it if I give it to a government department.’

Mr Finnegan says he will further investigate the legalities around the find.

An NPWS spokesperson told Echonetdaily it is not illegal to possess or sell ambergris within NSW.

‘If the ambergris was given to the NPWS it would be used for educational purposes,’ the spokesperson said.

‘Regulations can differ in other states and territories and people are advised to check the rules regarding ambergris in those jurisdictions,’ he added.

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    • I have always longed to smell real ambergris …I work with natural perfumes and have read such alluring descriptions of it ~ apparently quite magical to work with and nothing in the world like it. I would love to talk with you about it, perhaps you would like to sell some ?
      My name is Cate ~ 0423111296

  1. I have been researching ambergris for writing articles on natural perfumes from scratch. Would be interested to have a sniff of it of what you have found. if it suits you please ring Jude: 0401 265 723
    or SeedSavers landline: 0266 857 560


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