In Japan's coastal areas, common fishing rights have been established based on Japanese fishing laws. A common fishing right is given to a group of fishermen who live in a fishing village and fish in a coastal fishing ground zoon following a historical self-governed fishing system. There are shared characteristics and traditional communal relationships among the fishermen in each fishing village, indicating that coastal fishing ground, common groups in the various fishing villages, and local self-governed fishing systems are all elements of the Japanese common fishing rights system. On the other hand, most Japanese fishing villages are aging; thus, their populations are decreasing. As a result, communities in the fishing villages are in need of new entries into the common fishing rights system. Admission does not happen smoothly because of very strict rules and customs in the communal relationship among fishermen. This paper introduces three types of self-governing abalone fishing systems on the Pacific side of Japan's Tohoku area. It also describes the characteristics of communal relationships among fishermen and addresses possible changes in such
relationships after the admission of new entrants to abalone fishing groups.