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    Reported shark in Marshfield may have been sunfish

    Officials say the creature could have been a sunfish.
    marshfield police
    Officials say the creature could have been a sunfish.

    Beaches in Marshfield have reopened after a search prompted by reports of a shark off Sunrise Beach turned up no dangerous sea creatures, officials said.

    The harbormaster in nearby Scituate this afternoon blamed the alarm on a 7-foot sunfish. Police in Marshfield said they could not say for certain what the offending creature was, but told residents it was safe to go back in the water.

    Beaches between Rexhame and Brant Rock were briefly closed after people reported a large fish whose “fin was sticking out” of the water, officials said.

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    Scituate Harbormaster Mark Patterson said sunfish are often found basking on the surface of the water, and “do have fins.”

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    “Sometimes people mistake it for a shark,” he said.

    Marshfield Police Chief Phillip Tavares had said officials got several reports of a shark thrashing about 150 yards offshore in the Fieldston neighborhood.

    The sighting took place just days after officials spotted a 15-foot great white shark approximately 150 yards off nearby Duxbury Beach. The beach was closed for about two hours Monday as harbormaster boats tried to force the shark out of the area.

    The Duxbury sighting was captured on video by a State Police helicopter and confirmed by a state marine biologist.

    VIDEO: Shark in the water off Duxbury

    Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com.