Coralbots will be trained to distinguish coral fragments from other objects, such as sponges and other sea creatures, as well as rocks and trash. (Source: Murray Roberts/Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh)
Legislation only begins to curb the issue, Rob, especially when there is little way to control other countries, and the ocean is very big. We can control our end by outlawing the equipment designed to be effective over reefs. They would then stop doing it because their equipment will be ruined and/or lost. Legislation has been proven to make a serious impact, although there will always be cheaters, and we can't police the world.
Akwa, outlawing the equipment that is designed to go over reefs makes sense. Yet, like you say, it's a large world to police. In the meantime it's good to see alternatives such as the swarming robots are getting developed to help correct the problem. I'd love to see those robots in action.
I really wish that would solve the problem. Remember the story about Humpty Dumpty, you can put the pieces back together, but you may just end up with a pretty shell and no life. I guess putting the subtrate back together again to allow new growth, but what will prevent it from happening again, and again? To date, they haven't made a trawl that will roll over a ship very well. Maybe this technology should be modified to fix things like damage to deep sea oil wells.