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Dorsal fin sighting forces 3 beach closures in Westport

Three beaches in Westport were closed after two fishermen reported seeing a large dorsal fin near Gooseberry Island Monday morning, the Westport harbormaster’s office said.

The fishermen reported their sightings separately, said Christopher Leonard, director of marine services for the town.

One fisherman said he saw a fin while on Gooseberry Island, while the other saw a fin from the causeway leading to the island.

Leonard said a shark has not been confirmed. It could be a sunfish, which also has a large dorsal fin, he said. But the risk of a shark called for caution, he added.

“Any large dorsal fins we’re going to be very careful with,” Leonard said.


The sightings forced closures at the Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Baker’s Beach, and Cherry and Webb Beach, Leonard said.

Leonard said he did not know when the beaches would reopen but that town officials are exercising caution with the large Labor Day crowds.

It was unclear if the beaches would be open Tuesday. That decision is up to the discretion of the lifeguards at the beaches, Leonard said.

Westport usually reports at least one shark sighting a year, and the predators are becoming increasingly more common because of the increasing number of seals gathering on Gooseberry Island, Leonard said.

Alyssa Meyers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ameyers_.