EU importers of seal meat will have to ensure the livestock were killed humanely in the future, if new proposals from the European Commission are approved.

It has tabled a regulation banning the trading of seal products within, into, and from the EU if producers have killed and skinned seals causing pain, distress and suffering.

"Trade in seal products would only be allowed where guarantees can be provided that hunting techniques consistent with high animal welfare standards," the Commission said.

The EU would impose a certification scheme preventing trapping methods such as underwater netting. Canada, Greenland, and Namibia hunt about 60% of the 900,000 seals killed annually.