It is illegal in California to take sea stars (starfish) off nearshore rocks if they are between the mean high tide line and 1,000 feet seaward of the mean low tide line? Outside of this zone you may take 35 sea stars and you’ll need a valid fishing license. If you do still choose to venture out past the no-take zone for them, and you’re north of Yankee Point in Monterey County you can only take them while free diving.
According to California Fish and Game, it is generally legal to gather abalone shells and shell parts for your personal use. These shells, however, may not be sold or made into products to sell. Marine Reserves, State Underwater Parks and other prohibited areas do not allow any shell collecting. It is noteworthy, however, that dust from the creation of abalone jewelry and polishing is highly toxic to both humans and animals.