Herdísarvík was protected in 1988. The bay has a diverse wildlife. The bay was once a known fishing port, and its remains are still visible. The bay is named after the old crone Herdís, the sister of Krýsa who lived in Krýsuvík. The sisters were feuding, and that feud impacted the natural resources in the province.

The nature reserve covers an area of 4,218 ha.