Wild abalone can only be picked in certain areas, with a license, and following strict rules. They cannot be legally purchased. What can be purchased, however, are farmed abalone. They are smaller than wild ones but just as succulent. Since farmed abalone is younger than wild ones (they are harvested after a few years, and to keep wild populations healthy only much larger, older abalones can be harvested), they have a less intense abalone flavor, which is a plus or a minus, depending on how much you like abalone.