U.S. Rep. David Jolly calls on NOAA to take action on red tide near Pinellas

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Congressman David Jolly is asking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration to do something about a Red Tide bloom amassing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

In a letter to NOAA, Jolly writes that he is concerned about the bloom’s affects on fisheries and habitats in the waters off the coast of Pinellas County.

“Pinellas County is home to a large and diverse economy based largely on the marine environment. The last major Karenia brevis bloom in 2005 significantly impacted our fisheries, the marine recreation industry and the local tourism industry. The current bloom poses threat to our economy in much the same way.”

Specifically, Jolly is asking NOAA for more resources to study and prevent future harmful algae blooms.

The bloom has been lingering off Florida’s coast since early last month. The swath is about 5-10 miles off the Pinellas coast and spans 90-miles long and 60-miles wide.

According to a WTSP report Tuesday, officials at Honeymoon Island State Park are blaming the bloom on dead fish washing ashore.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission calls the red tide “patchy.” According to its most recent update, no inshore or alongshore fish deaths have been reported, but there have been fish kills in bottom waters in the bloom.

Jolly is planning a boat trip on Thursday with researchers to evaluate how much of a threat the bloom poses.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.