There are a number of limitations with this study (1) there are relatively few sites where smolt data has been collected from which to make spatial predictions (2) there are very few sites where data has been collected over long-time series (3) current analyses do not consider temporal or spatial auto-correlation. Future analyses of these data could be improved by addressing these issues. Specifically, it is worth considering (a) the inclusion of additional historical data from MSS which was not possible within the timescales of this report, (b) strategic collection of new data to improve understanding of spatial patterns e.g. high altitude sites close to the sea, additional west coast locations and locations in the central belt (c) consideration of spatial and temporal correlation.
Finally, the data analysed in this report came from a range of different sources in a variety of formats reflecting the different objectives of the original studies and availability of resources. These data thus required considerable resource to collate and quality control. Future analyses would benefit from central data collation and storage with associated meta-data on collection methods. This would be possible using the existing MSS FishObs database or through additional development of the SFCC database. These and other issues relating to strategic data collection and storage are central to the Report of the Wild Fisheries Review Panel (e.g. Recommendations 12, 13, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0046/00460195.pdf) that will be considered in due course.