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Shark spotted off Rye, N.H., beach

A shark was spotted this afternoon in the water off Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye, N.H., according to Rye police.

A beachgoer reported seeing a shark around 1:45 p.m., said Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh. No one has seen the shark since. The beach has not been closed, but swimmers have been pulled back and are only allowed to go ankle-deep in the water.

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After consulting with the Rye-based Seacoast Science Center, Walsh said that with prior knowledge of the area and the nature of the report given today, it’s likely the shark sighted was a sand shark, which is less harmful than the great white spotted on the Cape on Saturday. Sand sharks are not uncommon to the area at this time of year.

Sand sharks primarily hunt smaller fish, but fingers may be misconstrued as food to them, said Walsh.

“Like any animal, I don’t believe it would attack unless provoked,” he said.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com.

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