Female abalone can produce millions of eggs each year. Females release their eggs into the water, where they are fertilised by sperm released by male abalone. The fertilised eggs hatch into organisms called larvae. After about a week (depending on water temperature) the tiny larvae develop into small juveniles (often called ‘spat’) and settle onto rocks.
(Abalone take about four years to reach legal size to collect, which gives females at least two spawning seasons before they can be taken by fishers.)