Regions of the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are divided into 29 municipalities, six regions/shires (sýsla, sýslur in plural) and since 2007 there has been only one constituency, earlier there were seven constituencies. Each region has one sheriff (sýslumaður).
- Eysturoyar sýsla - Eysturoy region.
- Norðoyar sýsla - Norðoyar ("Northern Isles") region. (KG) Borðoy, Fugloy, Kalsoy, Kunoy, Svínoy, Viðoy.
- Sandoyar sýsla - Sandoy region (SA), Sandoy, Skúvoy, Stóra Dímun.
- Streymoyar sýsla - Streymoy region (TN). Streymoy, Hestur, Koltur, Nólsoy.
- Suðuroyar sýsla - Suðuroy region. Lítla Dímun, Suðuroy (TG).
- Vága sýsla - Vágar region. Mykines, Vágar (VA).
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The administrative subdivisions of the Faroe Islands are frequently changing. In the 1980s there were more than 50 municipalities. During the last past decades the number has been decreasing steadily, and more municipal-mergers can be expected within the following years. The aim of the ministry of interior is that in 2015 there will be only seven or nine municipalities in the Faroe Islands, more or less following the boundaries of the districts and constituencies. If this happens the Faroe Islands will have left the administrative structure of "parish-municipalities" which was built up in the first half of the 20th century and entered a structure of "regional-municipalities".
Furthermore, there was a long-running discussion on reducing or even removing the constituencies. In the end, from the 2008 election onwards, the constituencies were abolished.
The regions (sýsla) are not administrative parts of the islands like the municipalities (kommuna), the municipalities charge taxes from the citizens who live there. The regions cannot charge taxes from the citizens who live there. The regions are mostly used by the public churches in the registration of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, namegivings etc., but the central administration which gathers these informations from the priest and the municipalities is placed in Tórshavn, it is called Lansfólkayvirlitið, it is now a part of The Environment Agency (Umhvørvisstovan).
The regions are also used regarding pilot whale huntings, the sheriff decides if a pod of pilot whales can be killed or not, the boats need to get his permission before any slaughter can take place, and in some regions he also decides to which villages the whale meat and blubber should be given to. This is the case in Suðuroy, if men from the southern part of the island participate in a whale hunt, they are not sure to get any meat at all, if the sheriff decides, that there are too few whales in order to divide it to the whole island and can decide to give it only, for example, to the northern part or to specific villages or to homes for the elderly.