A grey seal mother and pup lie on the snow as sealing boats arrive during the first day of the hunt on Hay Island, Nova Scotia.
Calling the measure an attempt to manage the seal population, the Scottish government has approved a cull of 878 grey seals and 289 common seals in the hopes that less seals will mean more cod and other fish stocks.
Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, is not impressed.
"This just demonstrates how hypocritical they are," he said. "You need a sustainable, viable way of dealing with this and what they do is wasteful; it's indiscriminate killing. We have a three-step process that has been approved by vets."
Canada recently challenged the EU's 2009 ruling before the World Trade Organization and "looks forward to moving ahead with the WTO dispute settlement process in the coming months," according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Pinhorn says population control is essential. Seal populations double every seven years, he says, and a population explosion leads to the depletion of cod stocks.
The DFO says it hears those same concerns from fishermen.
"We continue to support a sustainable harvest along with market-driven, profitable commercial solution as the preferred solution to population control instruments," Melanie Carkner, a spokesperson for DFO, told QMI Agency.
Sheryl Fink, director of the seal program at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, doesn't believe this issue is really about population control.
"When Iceland and Norway did large scale culls and removed 40 to 60 per cent of their seal populations, they did not see fish populations bounce back to the levels of abundance they expected," she said.
"There is a lack of scientific support for culls. Predator species like seals have a stabilizing effect on an ecosystem. By removing one, you don't help another, you simply weaken the entire structure."