Illegal fishing poses a major threat to conservation of marine resources worldwide. However, there is still limited empirical research that quantifies illegal catch levels. We used the randomized response technique to estimate the proportion of divers and the quantities of loco (Concholepas concholepas) they extracted illegally. Loco have been managed for the past 17 years through a territorial user rights for fisheries system (TURFs) in Chile. Illegal fishing of loco was widespread within the TURFs system. Official reported landings (i.e., legal landings) accounted for 14-30% of the total loco extraction. Our estimates suggest that ignoring the magnitude of illegal fishing and considering only official landing statistics may lead to false conclusions about the status and trends of a TURFs managed fishery. We found evidence of fisher associations authorizing their members to poach inside TURFs, highlighting the need to design TURFs systems so that government agencies and fishers' incentives and objectives align through continuous adaptation. Government support for enforcement is a key element for the TURFs system to secure the rights that are in place. © 2017 Society for Conservation Biology.