Dependence on a relatively small sample size is generally viewed as a big disadvantage for survey-based assessments. We propose an integrated catch-at-age model for research vessel data derived from multiple surveys, and illustrate its utility in estimating trends in North Sea plaice abundance and fishing mortality. Parameter estimates were obtained by Bayesian analysis, which allows for estimation of uncertainty in model parameters attributable to measurement error. Model results indicated constant fishing selectivity over the distribution area of the North Sea plaice stock, with decreased selectivity at older age. Whereas separate analyses of survey datasets suggested different biomass trends in the southeast than in the western and central North Sea, a combined analysis demonstrated that the observations in both subareas were compatible and that spawning-stock biomass has been increasing over the period 1996-2005. The annual proportion of fish that dispersed in a northwesterly direction was estimated to increase from about 10% at age 2 to 33% at age 5 and older. We also found higher fishing mortality rates than reported in ICES assessments, which could be the consequence of inadequate specification of catchability-at-age in this study or underestimated fishing mortality by the conventional ICES assessment, which relies on official landings figures.