We propose a policy cycle for elasmobranch conservation and management and assessed the role and contribution of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) within this cycle on a case study basis for the Mediterranean region. Following a review of shark-related and relevant legal obligations under international and regional instruments, we classified them into ten focus areas: Capacity building, Conservation measures, Cooperation, Education and Awareness, Monitoring, Policy development and integration, Regulation, Reporting, Research, and Sustainable Management. Based on surveys and a supplementary, web-based research, we found that NGOs contribute substantially to the implementation stage of the proposed policy cycle and fulfil obligations under various legal instruments in relation to data collection, bycatch mitigation, species monitoring, identification of important areas, education and awareness. Furthermore, but to a lesser extent, NGOs are involved in the policy formulation stage as they support the development of new policies within the region. The range and extent of projects and programmes implemented varies among countries, with Spanish organisations currently implementing 25 such initiatives, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina (14), Greece (14), and France (11), Albania (7), Croatia (6), Cyprus (6), Italy (6), Malta (5), Slovenia (4), Israel (3), Libya (3), Turkey (3), Tunisia (2), and Morocco (1).