This article found in gcaptain newsletter today is very negative to the prospects of Offshore Fish Farming: https://gcaptain.com/gulf-mexico-fish-farms-noaas-100-million-mistake/
Another thing that “cannot be done in USA” because… ???
Yes Offshore Fish Farming is more difficult and expensive than conventional Aquaculture in dams or floating pens in protected waters, but it is something that is being looked at by serious operators in many countries.
The cost of offshore fish farming is obviously higher than in dams and pens, but not necessarily more than in tanks, or raceways with re-circulation and wast control. Therefore the fish that can be reared offshore must be high value, or fast growing/large volume species. Multi-culture farming is also a possibility
To farm Atlantic Salmon in pens requires conditions that only exists in a small part of US waters, such as in Main, NW USA and Alaska. But by going into deeper offshore waters, it is possible to take cool water from deeper down, thus avoiding annual temperature swings, algae bloom, parasites, sickness caused by viruses and surface pollution.
In Norway there are several several projects being contemplated, all for Atlantic Salmon. In Japan there are plans to rear Bluefin Tuna in offshore locations.
One of the possibilities are to use surplus Bulk Carriers to do this, but there are also plans for purpose built systems of some magnitude. Here is a couple of them: https://www.km.kongsberg.com/ks/web/nokbg0238.nsf/AllWeb/7C0B0102D79C3321C1257F8C00219350?OpenDocument
Another is ship shaped: http://www.seafoodsource.com/news/aquaculture/salmon-farm-to-be-built-on-world-s-largest-ship
Or a the totally enclosed type: http://nortrade.com/sectors/articles/sustainable-fish-farming-solutions-from-feed-to-egg/
Will Offshore Fish Farming become reality in the near future? Yes, very likely, but not necessarily in any of the forms presented above.
Does it exist already? Yes, but not for Salmon yet: https://rctom.hbs.org/submission/open-blue-and-the-innovation-of-open-ocean-fish-farming/
This is an example of a low cost/high volume operation in warm waters, which could be copied in the GoM.