Abstract A simple and effective method for the rapid determination of five salicylate and benzophenone-type UV absorbing substances in marketed fish is described. The method involves the use of matrix solid-phase dispersion (MSPD) prior to their determination by on-line silylation gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (GC–MS/MS). The parameters that affect the extraction efficiency were optimized using a Box–Behnken design method. The optimal extraction conditions involved dispersing 0.5g of freeze-dried powdered fish with 1.0g of Florisil using a mortar and pestle. This blend was then transferred to a solid-phase extraction (SPE) cartridge containing 1.0g of octadecyl bonded silica (C18), as the clean-up co-sorbent. The target analytes were then eluted with 7mL of acetonitrile. The extract was derivatized on-line in the GC injection-port by reaction with a trimethylsilylating (TMS) reagent. The TMS-derivatives were then identified and quantitated by GC–MS/MS. The limits of quantitation (LOQs) were less than 0.1ng/g.