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Loyola Sullivan has been appointed Canada's ambassador of fisheries conservation, less than a month after leaving provincial politics. ((CBC))

The federal government has appointed Newfoundland and Labrador's former finance minister to a serve as Ottawa's ambassador for fisheries conservation.

Loyola Sullivan, who quit provincial politics on Dec. 29, will represent Canada's interests in dealing with fisheries management policy, particularly with curbing overfishing.

"Having someone with Loyola Sullivan's credibility join us in our fight against overfishing is tremendous," federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn— a longtime friend of Sullivan's— said in a statement Thursday.

"We all know that conservation is the underpinning of a sustainable fishery," Sullivan told CBC News Thursday.

"I would certainly like to be very much part of further advancing that agenda. I'm really pleased."

Sullivan for 14 years represented the largely rural district of Ferryland, which included fishing communities decimated by the effects of overfishing and a moratorium on cod.

Sullivan was best known provincially as finance minister, and last fall reported a record surplus of almost $200 million for the preceding fiscal year.

Sullivan, who hadalsobeen a close lieutenant to Premier Danny Williams, astonished political watchers with a Dec. 29 retirement.

Sullivanhas rejectedrumours that he had resigned because of a split with Williams, who in October threatened to campaign against federal Conservatives if the equalization formula was changed to penalize oil-producing provinces.

Sullivan said Thursday he was not approached about the ambassador's job until he hadleft provincial politics.

The job is considereda diplomatic posting. Sullivan's office will be in St. John's.