Marine biologist Nancy Caruso holds a 10-year-old tagged abalone or sea snail, that she just removed from the ocean. She restored the kelp forests and then placed mature abalone in the ocean near Crystal Cove in Newport Beach to study their outcome. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Ð MINDY SCHAUER, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Ð shot 111814 abalone.1122 Abalone — a delicious marine snail — used to be a focal point of Southern California culture, with coastal dwellers diving for it and grilling it on the beach. They were so common that 100 years ago you had to walk over tide pools full of them to even get to the water at some beaches. Today, overfishing has felled the population to near zero. But local marine biologist Nancy Caruso wants to bring them back to Orange County’s recently restored kelp forests — and has just finished a preliminary study showing it’s possible.