Coupled with a federal decree that named the animals "destructive pests," it wasn't long before the basking shark population evaporated under the onslaught.
In 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put their population in the North Pacific at no more than 500.
"In the bays and inlets of British Columbia, where thousands were reported in the early 1990s, only six sharks have been documented since 1996," the organization notes in a fact sheet.
Throughout most of the world, the species is classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. But in Canadian waters, where the eradication program was active, the basking shark is considered endangered - a designation that suggests an even more severe population decline.