The sea snail has long been a gourmet favorite, so much so that over-fishing has decimated the abalone in some areas. It's been illegal to take the mollusk from Southern California waters since 1997.
The most endangered variety is the white abalone, prized for its tender flesh. Now scientists are trying to help the white abalone population recover, and they've created special tanks designed to promote abalone reproduction.
Melissa Neuman is a fisheries biologist with NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and she heads up a project aimed at preserving abalone.