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Shark report in Duxbury most likely sunfish, officials say

Duxbury Beach reopened this afternoon after officials determined that a “shark” spotted by a lifeguard was actually a harmless sea creature, officials said.

The state Division of Marine Fisheries determined the animal that was spotted was most likely a sunfish, said Jake Emerson, Duxbury harbormaster executive officer.

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The Duxbury Fire Department said the beach was being closed in a tweet sent at 4:14 p.m. The department said later the beach would reopen after 5:30 p.m.

While today’s sighting appeared to be a false alarm, there was a real shark sighting in Duxbury on Monday.

A 15-foot great white shark was spotted approximately 150 yards off Duxbury Beach, prompting the beach to close for about two hours, until the animal swam away. The shark was spotted and filmed by a State Police helicopter and the sighting was confirmed by a state shark specialist

On Wednesday, though, in nearby Marshfield, another sunfish apparently caused a hubbub when it was mistaken for a shark, and beaches were temporarily closed.

Scituate Harbormaster Mark Patterson told the Globe Wednesday that sunfish are often found basking on the surface of the water and are sometimes mistaken for sharks.

Trisha Thadani can be reached at her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.
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